Skip to comments.(Illegal) Migrants to U.S. ringing up debt
Posted on 11/21/2004 6:00:51 PM PST by angel90210
ALTAR, Mexico - Migrants make their way through the dusty streets of this northern Mexico town toting backpacks stuffed with a few belongings and carting jugs of water to sustain them on their upcoming treks into the Arizona desert.
Many also carry another burden: the debt they've incurred to make a trip to the United States. Despite humble lives, migrants such at those crammed temporarily into Altar's squalid boarding houses often pay thousands of dollars to finance trips to the United States, where they will work menial jobs to support themselves and families back home.
They do everything from putting their property up as collateral to finding loan sharks to asking relatives for money to pay smugglers and other costs.
Carlos Enrique Cano Vanega hopped trains from Honduras to Altar, barely bringing enough money to also pay the bribes demanded by Central American authorities to let him through.
Migrants gather in the city square in Altar, Mexico, before they attempt to enter the United States illegally. Many migrants incur heavy debt while trying to cross into the United States, oftentimes selling property or using loan sharks in order to finance their long voyages. (Associated Press file photo) 29-year-old worked on the family farm raising pigs and growing corn and beans, using his cut of harvest earnings for the trip.
His father also sold a plot of land in their native San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to give Cano money for the journey.
''My dad said, 'I'm going to help you out with what I can,' '' Cano said while resting at a migrant shelter in Altar, a popular staging area for migrants planning to cross the border at Arizona. ''So I'm planning on helping them out with what I can.''
Smuggling fees range from around $1,000 for Mexicans to several thousand dollars for migrants from elsewhere.
The methods for paying them can be as varied as the people, and they can prove as treacherous in their own way as the hazardous mountain and desert terrain migrants must cross in many areas to get into the country.
''People are very creative. They're constantly coming up with ways,'' said David Kyle, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California-Davis who studies migration patterns.
At the Altar shelter, 60 miles south of the Arizona border, migrants tell coordinator Francisco Garcia of signing over their land to lenders.
The loan sharks charge interest rates ranging from 10 percent compounded monthly to 15 percent compounded daily, causing migrants to lose their possessions within a few weeks, Garcia said.
The cycle keeps loan sharks gaining more and adds to the urgency migrants feel to try to cross into the United States to find a job, Garcia said.
''They tell me, 'Even if I went back, I wouldn't have anything to pay with,' '' he said. ''Imagine that you're far away from your hometown and you promised your family and your neighbors a lot of things and you incurred a debt.''
There are also stories of migrants offering up homes and cars as collateral to lenders, some of whom are associated with smugglers.
''You don't have to have the money in hand before you go because there are people who have turned this into a business,'' Kyle said.
''It's a pyramid scheme. As long as there's new people coming into this,'' loan sharks continue gaining money and assets and their lending capabilities grow. Other migrants, particularly those from South America, employ subterfuge.
They doctor assets by temporarily putting homes, cars and land in their name and transferring money into their accounts. That helps them obtain a U.S. tourist visa by showing that they are likely to return home, where they have possessions.
Once in the United States, the immigrants overstay their visas and assets revert to the original owners.
Smugglers may also call potential sponsors to ask if they'll pay to bring friends or relatives over, said Armando R. Garcia, a supervisory special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Phoenix.
Repayment for the illegal trek can be either a strict or informal process. Relatives may charge interest or expect a service. Other times, migrants must help the family financially or contribute when relatives are pooling funds to bring another person over.
''The family is even banking on that person,'' Kyle said. ''It's sort of like an extended family investment.''
Once in the United States, the family and social bonds the immigrants themselves crave encourage repayment of the smuggling debt, said Rey Koslowski, an associate professor of political science at Rutgers University who studies human smuggling.
''Somebody who takes but doesn't pitch in later, they might not be as willing to assist them in the future,'' he said. ''They could take off to another town, but they wouldn't have that network to help them in the future.''
Smugglers also cash in on their relationships to recruit from their hometowns, sometimes offering migrants they know a break on fees, said Salvador Reza, coordinator of the advocacy group Tonatierra.
Although such arrangements aren't too common, they tend to happen in field work or restaurants, with contractors or owners paying smuggling fees and migrants working to pay off the debt, immigration officials say.
Migrants? They make it sound like they're sailing across the Rio Grande in the Mayflower.
Imagine how things will change when the bad guys are not Arabs but Hispanics.
Groups like the Mexican Mafia will do anything for the right amount of money.
The idiots in DC are just as bad........Colin Powell during his recent speech IN mexico, referred to our illegals simply as "immigrants without legal status".
"Something bad is going to happen."
Last week the Secty. of Defense had this to say:
DOBBS: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is warning of the threat of terrorists entering this country through the same routes as those used by illegal aliens. Secretary Rumsfeld, traveling in South America, warned that enemies look for weaknesses and take advantage of them.
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The risk is that some of these human-smuggling routes into our country from this hemisphere could be used just as easily for terrorists.
DOBBS: And three million illegal aliens are estimated to be entering this country this year.
Secretary Rumsfeld also said the United States has to be, as he put it, smarter and quicker in securing our borders. The federal government's failure to secure those borders is leading individual states to take action. Arizona's Proposition 200, which limits state benefits for illegals, passed overwhelmingly two weeks ago. Now at least half a dozen other states are considering similar measures.
The illegal aliens' personal debt is NOTHING compared to the billions of dollars their leeching off America. So I trust the Leftists will forgive me for not getting worked up over this boo-hoo "article."
I'm glad he's gone.
Bank robbers= withdrawers without a checking/savings account.
If you go back and check Rumsfeld's original statements you will find that he is talking about human smuggling routes from South and Central America into Mexico, not from Mexico into the United States. From Mexico they enter the US at official entry points using government issued papers. Our first line of defense is to keep the terrorists from entering Mexico. If they get to Mexico all the border fences and military troops on the border won't do a bit of good. That's why Rumsfield was down at the international conference urging more efforts by other nations to stop terrorists from entering Mexico.
Some anti-Hispanic immigrant fund raising organizations have changed their scare tactics after 9/11 from meatballs to terrorists as the excuse to send them money to build a wall across Mexico.
They intentionally co-mingle terrorists with laborers and argue that if laborers are able to cross, then so can terrorists.
But Homeland security has effectively eliminated border jumping as a terrorist route by undercover operations and rewards south of the border and by creating a 33% (minimum) risk of being caught jumping the border. If a terrorist can get into Mexico undetected he can catch a plane in Mexico City to any international airport in America with almost no risk of being caught if he isn't already on a watch list like Cat Stevens.
A terrorist would have to be an idiot to risk being informed on, dying in the desert, trekking for days over mountain, swimming rivers, mugged, and being one of the 1/3rd caught by border guards, when for a small fraction of the price he could fly first class to anyplace in America.
But go ahead and send the Mexican hate organizations your money if it will make you sleep better.
And I'm sure you can prove that, right?
Census: U.S. Arab Population Is Surging
Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003
WASHINGTON -- The Arab population in the United States has nearly doubled in the past two decades, according to the Census Bureau's first report on the group.
Experts cited liberalized U.S. immigration laws and unrest in the Middle East that led many people to come to America.
The bureau counted nearly 1.2 million Arabs in the United States in 2000, compared with 860,000 in 1990 and 610,000 in 1980. About 60 percent trace their ancestry to three countries: Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.
While earlier Arab immigrants came from countries with large Christian populations, newer arrivals come from heavily Muslim countries such as Iraq and Yemen.
"Immigrants from the Arab world come for the same reason all immigrants come -- economic opportunity, opportunities to have an education, to develop a professional career," said Helen Samhan, executive director of the Arab American Institute Foundation, a research group.
Samhan said the lifting of U.S. immigration quotas in the 1960s opened the door to people from Arab countries and many took advantage during the 1980s and 1990s, with a large number coming from nations such as Lebanon and Iraq where there were wars.
Almost half of the Arabs in the United States live in five states -- California (190,890), New York (120,370), Michigan (115,284), New Jersey (71,770) and Florida (77,461).
"It would be better to come to America than Europe or Canada," said Zak Trad, 33, of Anaheim, Calif., who came from Lebanon three years ago. "It's the largest Arab community not in an Arab country. I didn't think I would be a stranger here."
New York City, the first stop for millions of immigrants for more than a century, had the largest Arab population among U.S. cities, 69,985. The Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Mich., where many Arabs first settled to work in the automobile industry, was next at 29,181.
Sterling Heights, Mich., was the city with the largest percentage of Arab-Americans, 3.7 percent, followed by Jersey City, N.J., with 2.8 percent. Dearborn's population is about 30 percent Arab but it was not ranked because the Census Bureau only counted cities with at least 100,000 residents; Dearborn has about 98,000.
The Census Bureau asked those who received the long version of their decennial questionnaire to list their ancestry. The form was sent to about one-sixth of all households.
Arab-Americans say their population is larger than that reported by the Census Bureau, but many are reluctant to fill out government forms because they came from countries with oppressive regimes.
The census report stops at 2000 so there is no data to measure the impact of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But tighter immigration procedures imposed after then have reduced the flow of Arabs to the United States.
The Arab American Institute Foundation said that just over 15,000 visas were issued to immigrants from Arab countries in 2002, compared with more than 21,000 in 2001.
"The fact that immigration procedures and visa applications have been so tightly screened is going to slow down the volume of new immigrants," Samhan said. "The scrutiny that will be placed on immigrants from Arab and Muslim countries is going to be even greater than other places."
The backlash that occurred against Arab Americans following Sept. 11 served to draw them closer and get more involved in politics. The concentration of Arab-Americans in a few key election states, particularly Michigan, also has boosted their political influence.
In October, seven of the eight Democratic presidential candidates attended the Arab American Institute's national leadership conference in Dearborn, as did the heads of the Democratic and Republican parties.
"These days, anything that moves votes one way or another by the thousands can have an impact of seismic proportions," said pollster John Zogby, himself an Arab-American.
© 2003 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Sure, were do you want to meet? I can show you may credentials.
Outside of meeting in person, how would you suggest I prove it?
Be nice to see your link that backs up your statement that:
"But Homeland security has effectively eliminated border jumping as a terrorist route".
He can't back it up, that's why he changed the subject.
But, I'm bored, so I'll play his silly liberal game, for now.
Bimbos Bar & Grill, Tomball, Texas.
You still want to play this silly game, or do you want to back up your original statement?
I learned to just ignore him.
I usually do, but I like proving he's ignorant.
Anabelle seems very struck with what she sees as the romantic struggle of the migrant against the oppressive U.S. jackbooted thugs.
Anabelle gives not a damn for actual U.S. ctizens -- you, me or even herself.
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