BORDER NEWS & ISSUES
You Know They're Illegal When....
You know you have an illegal when... you find an
empty bottle of tequila on your land. In
1998, I found one with other trash. Obviously,
the crosser was headed northward, and had it to celebrate the first night on
this side. I am sure he shared it
with his party, for there was a lot of trash.
You know you have an illegal when... you find a
50-peso note instead of food in your outside refrigerator.
This actually happened to my neighbor (I will call him Peter because he
has been involved in more serious incidents) in 2000.
You know you have an illegal when... you find a
bottle of wine meant for a neighbor half-drunk. There was no sign the crosser had ever found Peter's water
outlet in October 2002, so he helped himself to some wine left for Peter to give
to a neighbor. Peter had to leave
all of a sudden, so I took the wine to a neighbor, and left a note on what
happened as a warning. I figured
the wine would kill any germs the illegal left.
You definitely know you have an illegal when... he answers, "Yesterday", to your question, "When were you born?" This actually happened in Nogales, Arizona in March 1993. There, the bus station is less than 2 blocks from the border. A mile on its way to Tucson, the bus stopped and a Border Patrol agent got on. First, he asked everyone to show ID. When he didn't see ID on my seatmate, he asked him when he was born, in English. My seatmate was one of a half-dozen people taken off the bus.
Ron Pamachena May 14, 2003
Border Is Here – Four Years Later (2006)
Usually I thank those who have anything to do
with the newsletter here. Today, I
note the people in Customs, the Border Patrol, and others who have spent extra
time all along the border, as those who checked the bridges between Mexico and
Texas. Other than to check these,
the border was not closed. However,
there has been extra security at ports of entry since the terrorist attacks on
Tuesday, September 11.
I heard of these attacks as I entered what was to be the second article
into the computer files for this issue. There
were estimates that there were more than 30,000 people employed in the World
Trade Center, when its towers fell after being hit by hijacked airplanes.
Lists from those who had people employed in the World Trade Center and
Pentagon, and later checking, show that 4,000 rather than 30,000 died in the
attacks. Even if the bigger
estimates had proven to be correct, they are less than 1/3 of the number of
people who have been caught crossing the border without any legal documents to
do so; in each of the 7 years I was in Palominas, over 100,000 were caught.
Less than 2 weeks before the attacks, Mexican president Vicente Fox had a
very friendly visit to Washington to see American president George W. Bush.
Fox visited the U.S. again after the attacks.
The attacks have now brought American politicians together, if only for a
few months. Now is the time to do
these things; the sooner after immediate aid is given to the victims of the
attacks, the better. All American
politicians now agree that money in the Social Security trust fund has to be
used for anything that is done. However,
these measures will cost little compared to other things now being done, such as
grants and loans to the airlines. With
regard to Mexicans and the border, to treat Mexicans as all immigrants, I would
do these eight things:
certain the status of all immigrants now in the United States.
No immigrants need to be treated differently, whether they are from
Mexico, or from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or the United Arab Emirates as the
terrorists apparently were, or Iran, Peru, or Taiwan, homes of people I knew
when I was going to college more than 25 years ago.
who are doing work that no others in the U.S. want to do or can do properly, can
get noncitizen work permits. These
will allow them to keep working on this side of the border, whether in
entry-level agricultural jobs, or ones requiring expertise as the people I knew
almost 30 years ago were hoping to get.
what they are doing is permanent, or they have a string of temporary jobs that
is enough to support them, their status should be reviewed every year.
they are doing seasonal or temporary work, as many from Mexico, they should get
permits for the time needed to stay and do their work, plus whatever time they
need to get things together and go back afterwards.
permit process must be much easier now than in the past.
In theory, there is a permit process now, but in practice, it is too long
and cumbersome for anyone to follow it. By
the time the permit process as it is now can be completed, the need for the
temporary jobs, as to pick cotton as I saw near Casa Grande, Arizona in October,
is often over.
all immigrants now in the United States an opportunity to become citizens in 5
years, under the laws and conditions required to become an American citizen now.
Then, they will not need work permits, as is true for American citizens
now. Those who do not follow all
conditions in general should be given enough time to wrap up their particular
affairs and go home, or to another country of their choice.
Both they and Americans already here must realize that they swear
allegiance to the United States when they become citizens, and not to Saudi
Arabia, Iran, Canada, Mexico, or wherever anymore.
the Border Patrol, and also use the National Guard - only those persons in it
from immediate areas, like southern Arizona and southern Texas, to help them.
Do not use the regular military, there has been enough experience with it
on the border to know that it will not work.
The regular military is now active in the Middle East and other parts of
the world, anyway.
he went to Washington, Fox suggested American aid for places in Mexico which do
not have work for the many Mexicans who come to the United States illegally.
Even he and others in the Mexican government must now realize this is not
possible now, if it ever was. Much
of the email I receive is from Mexicans wanting to sell Internet or other
services from the capital, Guadalajara, or Monterrey.
It is all in Spanish, of course. If
there is enough money in Mexico to have centers which make these mailings, there
is enough money in Mexico to have a fund to aid the places in the countryside
there. They are capable of
appealing to Americans to contribute to this fund.
Both of Mexico's largest political parties, the PRI and the PAN, offered
translations of their web sites to English in the last presidential elections
there in 2000, as they looked in any way they could to keep their campaigns
going. The PRI's was very good,
while the PAN's was not as good but understandable.
Persons who were in Agua Prieta, across from Douglas, Arizona, when the
Rancho Feliz Charitable Foundation of Scottsdale, Arizona delivered a fire truck
donated by the city of Tempe (next to Scottsdale and Phoenix), may know people
in Mexico who can start such a fund. If
the fund does what it says it will do, Americans will contribute to it through
groups like Rancho Feliz.
These are general points. How
do the details get done?
Article 123, its article on labor, is one of the parts of the Mexican
constitution that interest scholars the most.
For many Mexicans, its "socially useful work" has become making
the dangerous journey to the border, then working on this side. In the middle of the article, those who wrote it in 1917 put:
"The consul of the nation where the worker has to go must see the labor
contract." There is a possible
foundation for a guest-worker program, point 2, or whatever people would like to
Mexico had a dictator, Porfirio Diaz, who ruled for the last 23 years of
the 19th century and the first 10 years of the 20th, during the last years of
the settlement of the Old West including much of the area near the border in the
U.S. He put in most of Mexico's
railroad tracks and a lot of its industry, but he did very little for its
people. He kept as many of them off
the streets of Mexico City for the country's centennial celebrations as he
could, in his last year. After
that, there was the Mexican Revolution. Partly
because it was so devastating, it was much worse than the Civil War was in the
U.S., but very little is written about it compared to the Civil War.
One out of 8 people were killed or fled Mexico then.
Most who fled came to the U.S. You
are not dictators like Diaz, it will take at least 50 senators and 218 members
of the House for immigration policy to be set.
Even someone here in the Phoenix area who supports immigrants in general,
in his newspaper column, estimates there are 11 million immigrants who came
without documentation in the U.S. now. Each
of those who could decide for themselves to come had different reasons for doing
so, which may have included pressures either at home, in the U.S., or both.
Note that I said nothing of penalties or sanctions for illegal crossers
now, perhaps penalties or sanctions would reduce the burden on Social Security.
I have heard a lot of discussion of what these should be, but I have
heard little on penalties and sanctions for those who smuggle the crossers in,
whether the smugglers are in Mexico or the U.S.
This part of the immigration system as it has become, no matter what the
purposes of it have been, is evil and must be ended now.
Those who have made or make their living smuggling people must be kept or
put out of business. Using
smugglers' gains may prove really to reduce the burden on Social Security to
implement what you do. It will take
years to remove as many as 11 million people from the U.S., no matter what
course you choose. Smuggling will
be tried, as long as Americans keep demanding drugs as cocaine in its various
forms, and American employers keep looking for cheap labor for projects they
really do not need.
Many who are not immigrants, but who live near borders, depend on
cross-border trade for their livings. Mexico's
is a very emotional culture. Immigration
policy must be made in ways that will affect trade as little as possible.
Any new policy, as the House started with in December 2005, is better
than none at this point in time, which is about what it is now. What the House did was only a start. It has been more than 4 years now since I first wrote what is
above the asterisks. It remains as
topical as then. To see who I
am, see a website where I formerly was in Arizona: http://www.palominas.com
Gold Canyon, Arizona
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