Skip to comments.Migrant crackdown moves east
Posted on 11/22/2003 3:56:43 AM PST by sarcasm
The pickup truck sped north, racing Mario Jimenez Sanchez and a load of other illegal border crossers to their American dream.
Next it was pitching off of Arizona 90 near Whetstone, down a steep embankment before coming to a stop on an unpaved road.
Jimenez Sanchez, 27, and seven other illegal entrants in the bed of the GMC didn't see the driver and a passenger in the cab bail out and run away. And they didn't see the team of U.S. Border Patrol agents swarming around them before they, too, could make a run for it.
A month ago, Jimenez and the others would have been an entry in the agency's statistical estimate of "got-aways."
Instead, the eight men taken into custody Thursday night became part of the more than 800 illegal border crossers apprehended in the first four days of the Border Patrol's "Operation Pipeline," an aggressive campaign to curb illegal immigration through Cochise County and eastern Santa Cruz County
The operation is as much a message to would-be smugglers as an effort to raise the number of arrests the Border Patrol makes of illegal entrants and smugglers and the seizure of their assets. It tells them, officials say, that reaching the highways of Arizona no longer means people smugglers and their loads are more likely to successfully sneak in.
"They know now they can be picked up anywhere," said Rob Daniels, a spokesman for the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector.
The Border Patrol says it's too early to gauge the effect of the operation. But the first four days were encouraging and the agency said it intends to keep the pressure on until there is a noticeable decline in illegal entrant traffic funneling through the Huachuca Mountain corridor from Naco and Cananea, Sonora.
For example, apprehensions at the Naco station were at 14,840 since Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year. That's nearly three times the 5,157 apprehensions for the same period last year.
And in spite of an 11 percent decline in apprehensions at Douglas, the increase at Naco and at Sonoita has pushed apprehension numbers across the Tucson Sector up 30 percent from last year. Specific apprehension figures for the entire sector were not available Friday night.
As Jimenez Sanchez and the others waited to be taken to the Naco Border Patrol station for processing and voluntary deportation, teams of agents continued to prowl highways around Sierra Vista, Douglas, Benson and Sonoita.
They looked for the telltale signs of smuggling: overloaded vehicles; fingerprints in the fine film of dust on the trunk; and footprints left by crossers on the step of a pickup's bumper. They also searched out any suspicious expressions or gestures by drivers they encountered.
In addition to the apprehensions, those teams helped nab one people-smuggling suspect who could face charges and seized 230 pounds of marijuana and more than 60 vehicles.
They also stopped a convoy of vehicles bought at auction that were headed to the Mexican used car market, a Sonora family headed to Tucson and several area residents driving to and from home.
The intensity of the enforcement effort stunned Jimenez Sanchez. His voice quivered with emotion as he pleaded for understanding as he and his companions were being prepared to go back home.
"We aren't any threat to you. We're just here to work. That's all we want - to take care of our families," he said, to no one in particular. "What do you want from us? We're not thieves. We don't come to harm you."
Jimenez Sanchez had left his home in Puebla, near Mexico City, with the hope of working in the United States to earn enough to send money home to his wife and three children and maybe enough to put some away for the future.
After 10 days on the road, a tough desert trek on foot, and the frightening end to his journey, he said he was not sure he'd try again.
Rick Hackney, of Huachuca City, applauded the Border Patrol crackdown on the illegal immigration pipeline that runs past his home and business on Arizona 90.
As he watched the Border Patrol remove the GMC truck just down the street from his shop, High Desert Off-Road, he said his business has been vandalized and one of his employees was assaulted by Mexican smugglers.
"I don't much care for this police state that we've got now, but I don't care to have them (illegal border crossers) swarming all over my place, and its been that way for the last three years," he said.
"I have a lot of sympathy for these people; they're just trying to find some work," he added.
"It's the coyotes (smugglers) that cause all the problems."
Congressman Jim Kolbe has been critical in the past of Border Patrol enforcement efforts far from the border. But he said efforts like "Operation Pipe-line" that target the smugglers are critical to effective border enforcement.
However, efforts like "Operation Pipeline" don't offer a long-term solution to the problem of illegal immigration, he said. That's especially the case at a time a reviving U.S. economy with renewed job growth is increasing the demand for workers, legal and illegal.
"In the long run, we need to have a different way of handling people coming into this country and that means some type of temporary guest worker program," said Kolbe, a Republican who is co-sponsor, with fellow Arizona Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, of a guest worker bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. "This is a problem that is not going to go away, we can make it more difficult but we can't stop it."
Immigrant advocates were upset with the new crackdown.
The Border Patrol's operation appears to be nothing more than a waste of resources intended to grab headlines as much as undocumented workers, said Jennifer Allen of the Border Action Network, a human- and immigration-rights advocacy group.
She said the agency's net is so broad that it catches U.S. citizens along with illegal border crossers.
"It's just Border Patrol profiling, and it erodes the rights of all citizens. Border enforcement is supposed to happen on the border, at the ports of entry," she said. "People should have more opportunities to come to this country legally. They should be able to come through a port of entry and look for a job in the light of day."
On the comment by the illegal caught in the truck wreck, protesting that he was not a threat and not a thief; one needs to remember that he will extract American currency, often without paying taxes and send it to Mexico. He will also avail himself of various "entitlements" (God I hate that word) without any contribution. If that is not stealing, I am an Islamist.
Good grief, that is more people than ride any given metropolitan mass-transit system!
Bravo! for the Border Patrol -- more power to them!
They were riding in the back of a pickup and didn't see the cops chasing them? This is such a lie. They were probably yelling at the cops and throwing things at them. Then they got caught and this idiot of a reporter expects us to believe that these peaceful loving criminals didnt' see anything?
I hate this issue. Nothing makes my blood boil than to see our country invaded by these scum and our leaders do nothing about it.
Bump! Well said Ray!
What short memories they must think we have. Up until last year, we had permanent Border Patrol checkpoints on AZ 80 north of Tombstone and AZ 90 north of Whetstone. The only reason the illegals may have for now thinking they can use these roads with impunity is that Congressman Jim Kolbe inserted language in a funding bill that removed those checkpoints.
What a flippin' crock of bovine bowel content.
El Presidente Fox encourages it. He even admitted that money sent back to Mexico from the US by illegals surpasses what Mexico makes on oil and tourism. To me, this is like admitting that he's a failure but he doesn't care.
It also saves the Mexican Treasury lots of money to have the US footing the bill for these people.
Fox is as much a parasite as the people he encourages to come here are.
First step is send Every-Single-Illegal-caught to stay with Jennifer Allen and make them her personal WARDS. She should get to pay for EVERYTHING PERSONNALLY out of her pocket and have TOTAL legal liability for them.
Think she'd change her tune in a hurry then? Hmmmm?
Brings tears to my eyes, I just want to adopt him and hug him and never let him go.
They are not a threat to us? Then pay back the 8 billion in damages to California and the 4 billion to Texas, keep your kids out of our schools, keep your grubby paws off our Social Security, stay out of the voters booth, stop demanding the rights and protections of citizens, stay out of the welfare lines and the hospitals, stop wearing our highways out, and stop stealing twelve billion a year out of the US economy to send back to Mexico, stop poisoning us with your filthy produce, spreading your strain of TB that is immune to antibiotics, along with your hepititus, and choking Texas when you burn your fields at the end of summer, not to mention the loss of resources and the cost of having to provide more resources than the community needs just in order to support your presence here. And it's not the point either. If we want someone invading our nation we will sqeeze their ear.
"It's just Border Patrol profiling, and it erodes the rights of all citizens
Typical liberal logic, wonder what orifice she pulled this logic out of?
Jennifer Allen is an anti-American POS.
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