Welcome to Casa Segura/Bienvenidos a Casa Segura...
I don't want to go on being just a root in the shadows,
vacillating, extended, shivering with dream,
down in the damp bowels of earth,
absorbing it, thinking it, eating it every day.
-Pablo Neruda from 'Walking Around'
Border issues in the news...
The number of people attempting to illegally cross the U.S-Mexico border has plummeted, but the number of migrants dying during the trek through the mostly desert region has not.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues its efforts to secure the border and prevent deaths in the area, Border Patrol officials said. But, while the number of border crossings has declined dramatically in the last five years, the number of deaths has not decreased at the same pace. Human rights organizations attribute the problem to the increased militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border and the absence of government policy addressing the social and economic motivations that prompt migrants to continue to cross, despite the dangers.
"We never thought that we'd be in the business of helping to identify remains like in a war zone, and here we are," said Isabel Garcia, co-chair and founder of the Tucson-based Coalición de Derechos Humanos.
While the precise number of individuals crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization is impossible to tally, Border Patrol’s apprehensions and death data offer the most accurate picture available. Each year the CBP reports the number of bodies found along the Southwest border and the number of migrants that agents bring into custody.
In fiscal year 2011, 327,577 migrants attempted to cross the border illegally, down from 858,638 in FY 2007 -- a nearly 62 percent drop. A closer look at the numbers reveals that although illegal border traffic has slowed and deaths have slightly declined, the proportion of border crossing fatalities to border crossing apprehensions has continued to rise.
In FY 2011, Border Patrol found 368 people dead, compared to 398 in FY 2007. The number of deaths to live interceptions rose to just over 0.11 percent in FY 2011 compared to some 0.05 percent in FY 2007. While the numbers may seem small, they indicate that illegal border crossings have become less common, but more dangerous.
Continue to the entire article by Carolina Moreno on the Huffington Post
A terrific piece by Lorenzo Rocha in Milenio online:
NEW YORK — A trove of internal Arizona state police documents released by a hacker group last week contains a confidential federal report that contradicts claims by Arizona politicians, including Gov. Jan Brewer and Sen. John McCain, that violence tied to drug trafficking and illegal immigration from Mexico is on the rise in the state.
Throughout 2010, Brewer claimed that cartel-related violence was increasingly spilling over into Arizona cities and towns. Most infamously, she stated that Arizona law enforcement had found bodies decapitated by cartels in the Arizona desert.
"We cannot afford all this illegal immigration and everything that comes with it, everything from the crime and the drugs and the kidnappings and the extortion and the beheadings and the fact that people can't feel safe in their community," Brewer told Fox News in June 2010.
Brewer retracted the claim about beheadings after it was questioned by southern Arizona police and coroners. But she continues to maintain that a rising tide of violence is spilling into the state from the increasingly bloody situation in Mexico.
Brewer has repeatedly raised the specter of cross-border violence as justification for the state's controversial immigration law, SB 1070, which requires local police to demand immigration documents from those they suspect of being in the country illegally.
"We cannot delay while the destruction happening south of our international border creeps its way north," Brewer said before signing the bill last year.
Sen. John McCain has made similar claims about border violence.
"I am gravely concerned with the continued and apparently growing violence along our border with Mexico," he wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last March.
"The federal government must do all it can within its power to curb this violence and protect its citizens from criminals coming across the border from Mexico," he said.
Yet the hacked report, by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis, finds no signs that significant violence in Mexico is spilling across the border into Arizona.
Continue reading the entire article here: Huffington Post
Charlie Bruce was a Texas police chief of the old school. In more than four decades on the force he gave homegrown criminals good reason to steer clear of Del Rio, his small town on the United States's southern border, but held no grudge against the steady flow of Mexicans across the frontier in search of opportunity. He admired them for their hard work and the chances they took to better themselves. Besides, some of them built his house.
What happened on the other side of the border, in Mexico, was another matter. There, Bruce unashamedly admits that for years he used his authority as a Texan police officer to run a lucrative smuggling racket. Mostly he dealt in duty-free whisky and cigarettes shipped in to Mexico, bribing officials with tens of thousands of dollars a time to avoid taxes, and then promptly selling the contraband on to Americans who brought it back across the border.
Occasionally Bruce branched out. He laughs when he recalls the handsome profit made from exploiting a sugar shortage in the 70s by paying off an official to illegally sell him a stock of subsidised sugar sitting in a Mexican government warehouse, which he shipped to a pie-maker in Philadelphia.
Now 75 and retired to a new house a stone's throw from the border, he recounts his years as a smuggler with undisguised pride and admits that it was all made possible by being a police officer. "That's exactly why I got by with it, because I was well known over there. My shield was law enforcement. I got by with murder more than other people," he says. "Other people may think it's wrong but the border's its own world."
Read the entire article by
Chris McGreal in the Gaurdian.
As state legislatures convene this month, lawmakers across the country who had vowed to copy Arizona's strict measure cracking down on illegal immigrants are facing a new reality.
State budget deficits, coupled with the political backlash triggered by Arizona's law and potentially expensive legal challenges from the federal government, have made passage of such statutes uncertain.
In the nine months since the Arizona measure was signed into law, a number of similar bills have stalled or died or are being reworked. Some have faced resistance from law enforcement officials who question how states or communities could afford the added cost of enforcing the laws.
And some state legislators have backed away from the most controversial parts of the Arizona law, which have been challenged in court by the federal government and others. A federal judge has put on hold some of its provisions, including those that would allow police to check immigration status if they stop someone while enforcing other laws, allow for warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants and criminalize the failure of immigrants to carry registration papers. The case is awaiting a ruling before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
"Obviously most places were not going to pass Arizona bills," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates tighter immigration laws. "There's always an initial flush of enthusiasm and then the reality of politics sets in. . . . These states are bankrupt - they need to decide what battles they want to fight."
Continue reading this article by Lois Romano in the Washington Post