Monday, May 29, 2006


Notes on the pickle we’ve made for ourselves…

On the 19th of May, The Arizona Daily Star online broke the news of a border bust:

“Tip leads Border Patrol to 91 illegal entrants in truck”

“Border Patrol agents discovered 91 illegal entrants who were smuggled into the country in the back of a box truck Thursday night southwest of Sonoita, an official said Friday.”

There’s a photo of the truck – it’s a big single-axle with a maybe a thirty foot box on it…

And the tale reads like a bad joke… How do you get 91 Mexicans into a van?

You offer them a ride to work…

Meanwhile, the Minutemen are stringing barbed wire on the border – HuffPo has a positively ridiculous photo from AFP:

You can tell whose side this photographer is on… I’m afraid that fence won’t do much other than stimulate barbed wire sales. It won’t catch many immigrants… But that’s not what it’s for, of course. It’s designed to catch a government with its pants down… And maybe a controversy…

FoxNews gives a more balanced take:

“Minuteman Group Begins Building Border Fence in Arizona”,2933,197291,00.html

Fanning the Minutemen’s ire are reports the Border Patrol is tipping of the Mexican Government as to their whereabouts and activities.  From the Minutemen’s website:

“U.S. tipping Mexico to Minuteman patrols”

Some days, a good vigilante just can’t win…

Then there is the fifth column. reports:

“Surge of volunteers expected to help illegal immigrants cross desert”

“Leaders of two faith-based groups, No More Deaths and Samaritan Patrol, say they've signed up hundreds of volunteers to deliver food, water and medical aid to migrants illegally walking into the country from Mexico. No More Deaths alone has 500 registered volunteers, up from 300 last summer.”

Illegal entry notwithstanding, some believe it’s just plain inhuman to let people die trying to cross the desert…

I wonder… What’s going to happen when one of these Minutemen patrols get into a confrontation with someone from, say, the Samaritan Patrol… and someone gets shot? What if there is a full-fledged donnybrook down there? The National Guard may find itself trying to keep Americans from killing each other…

In Washington - the “bad” Washington - Our Senate has decided to build a fence… Somewhere… But Michelle Malkin points out Senator Chris Dodd has inserted a rider into the passed bill requiring consultation with all involved parties, including the Mexican government, before any actual fence is built:

“Mexico Gets Veto Power? "Consultation" Req'd”

One might argue consultation doesn’t necessarily entail deference, but in the real world…

On the subject of “getting real,” Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, published an excellent articulation of the middle of the road position last week in the Wall Street Journal:

“Enforceable, Sustainable, Compassionate
On immigration, it's time to get real.”

One five-star alarm this raises with me is his proposal to create a National DNA database for everyone – not just foreign workers. He wants to make it a requirement even for native-born citizens…

Like hell you will. You can have my DNA when I’m done with it and not before, you prick…

Back in the “bad” Washington, and across the campus, members of the House of Representatives are sweating bullets, trying to decide whether or not to actually listen to their constituents on this question, most of which want a leak-proof border, even if it requires a moat of alligators.

From The Washington Post:

“Immigration Deal at Risk as House GOP Looks to Voters”

The House is collectively viewing the next election as if it were a runaway locomotive and they a damsel on the tracks… If they side with the majority, it’s likely there will be no action at all. If they don’t, a lot of them may get unelected…

And then there’s that pesky minority – all the people on both sides of the border that are cleaning up – or at least surviving - on all this lawbreaking… Smugglers, drug runners, the entire US Farm sector, the Hospitality industry… The Nation of Mexico…

The biggest benefactor of all this law breaking may well be that Nation south of the border. does a pretty good summation of this angle:

“Give and take across the border
1 in 7 Mexican workers migrates -- most send money home”

One in seven… and, according to SFGate, “Last year, Mexico received a record $20 billion in remittances from migrant workers. That is equal to Mexico's 2004 income from oil exports and dwarfing tourism revenue.”

Not to mention the benefit of not having to cope with all those desperately poor people Mexico cannot provide for…

Adding insult to the injury, Mexico itself has received certainly unwelcome publicity of its own profoundly xenophobic immigration policies:

“Mexico Works to Bar Non-Natives From Jobs”

Immigrants are second-class citizens in Mexico, irrespective of how long they have been there, and are just plain discouraged from trying to settle. Partly as a consequence, Mexico’s foreign-born population is only a half percent of their total.

I wonder if there is another consequence… Is their reluctance to accept immigrants one of the things that is holding them back?

A little closer to home, we have an alarm being sounded on a very practical matter. From The New York Times:

“With Illegal Immigrants Fighting Wildfires, West Faces a Dilemma”

I think there is something to this. For a long time Hispanics have been dominating certain aspects of the forest products industry. It was already a factor back when I did this sort of work in the ‘80’s. It isn’t just fire fighting. There is tree planting, pre-commercial thinning, fertilizing – all more or less related. You plant & fertilize in winter, thin in spring and fall… And try to keep it all from burning in the summer…

And a last item for the holiday. Jim Derych over at HuffPo reminds us of Lance Corporal Jose Guitierrez, one of the first Marines killed in the Iraq war.

“Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez--Illegal Immigrant, American Hero”

As a kid from Guatemala, he train-hopped his way across Mexico and then entered the US illegally. When he was 18 he acquired resident alien credentials and thereafter joined the Marines. He died in a firefight near Umm Qasr.

RIP. You’re a better American than many, Corporal.

Good post!

You know, it seems like somebody is alwayings bringing up how helpful a national ID/passport/DNA database/mandatory chipping would be in fighting the crisis du jour. :/
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