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...

Huddled masses look elsewhere

Evidence keeps accumulating that the tide of immigration is ebbing. Tough enforcement laws passed by states like Arizona and Oklahoma and localities like Prince William County, Va., have reportedly spurred Latino immigrants to move elsewhere. Tougher enforcement of federal immigration laws may be having the same effect.

Classrooms in Orange County, Calif., are suddenly half-empty. Latino day laborers seem to be less thick on the ground at their morning gathering places. Remittances to Mexico and other Latin countries are down, and men are returning to some villages from the United States.

Latinos appear to account for a disproportionate share of mortgage foreclosures. The Census Bureau estimates that net immigration in 2007-08 was 14 percent lower than the average for 2000-07, and those estimates don’t cover the period after June 30, when the recession really started hitting.

Demographic forecasters tend to assume that the long-term future will look a lot like the short-term past. That’s why the Census Bureau estimates that there will be more than 100 million people classifying themselves as Hispanics in 2050, compared to 45 million today. But history tells us that trend lines don’t go on forever. Sometimes they turn around and go downward.

The apparent downturn in immigration in the past 18 months is surely not unrelated to the recession that began, the National Bureau of Economic Research now tells us, in December 2007. The gaming industry in Las Vegas - then and for most of the preceding 20 years the nation’s fastest-growing metro area - started declining in 2007, and net immigration to Nevada was down 16 percent in 2007-08 from the 2000-07 levels. And reports are coming in of Latinos leaving town as construction of giant hotels on the Strip is shut down by foreclosure.

But immigration is not just about economics. People move, I have come to think, in pursuit of dreams - or to escape nightmares. One of those dreams - home ownership in America - now seems much less attainable than it did just six months ago, with thousands of foreclosures and with subprime loans to low-income buyers presumably a thing of the past. Meanwhile, birth rates in Mexico and much of Latin America took a sharp turn downward around 1990, which means that those entering the work force there in years hence will have less competition for jobs - fewer nightmares.

Since Congress considered and failed to pass a comprehensive law in 2006 and 2007, we have learned that tougher enforcement of existing law is possible and can reduce illegal immigration. Now we face a sharply different economic situation, which is presumably less conducive to immigration. This may make the need for a comprehensive law less pressing and at the same time make it politically more palatable.

Our history is one of great surges of migration, immigrant and internal, which begin without much in the way of warning and which end unexpectedly. It’s possible - not certain, maybe not likely, but possible - that we’re witnessing the beginning of one of those endpoints now.

Read this article by Michael Barone in the Boston Herald.

Mexico opens help line for migrants to Arizona

The Mexican government has opened a special call center in Arizona to provide a sympathetic ear for citizens caught up in crackdown on illegal immigration in the desert state.

Officials at the Mexican consulate in Tucson said they opened the center last week. It is available 24-hours-a-day to field complaints from Mexican nationals about their treatment in the border state, where as many as half a million illegal immigrants live and work in the shadows.

"We want to offer a human voice at the other end of the line, so they can feel protected and know that someone is here for them," Alejandro Ramos, head of the consulate's Department of Protection, told Reuters.

Feelings run high about illegal immigration in the United States, where an estimated 12 million undocumented workers and their children hide from authorities.

After the U.S. government failed to pass legislation overhauling immigration laws last year, many U.S. states and some local authorities have acted to clamp down on illegal immigrants, including Arizona, which passed a law to block the hiring of illegal workers.

Read the entire article by David Schwartz on Reuters.

Illegal immigration declines as economy falters

WASHINGTON — Illegal immigration, which has sparked political and social turmoil in communities across the nation, is on the wane, according to an independent report released Thursday.

The number of illegal immigrants entering the United States has slowed significantly the past few years, falling below the number of those entering the country legally, according to the report by the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington think tank.

The report estimates there were 11.9 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. as of March. That would be a decline of 500,000 from the center's estimate a year ago. However, the change was not statistically significant because of the large margins of error.

The Pew study does not address why the decrease occurred, but other researchers cite the nation's struggling economy and stepped up enforcement of immigration laws.

"The decline in job prospects in construction, service and other low-skilled jobs are communicated through extended networks of would-be movers from Mexico and Latin America," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, another Washington think tank. "It also may propel more return migration."

Census data released last month showed that overall immigration slowed dramatically in 2007, though the Census Bureau does not distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants.

Illegal immigrants are notoriously difficult to count. Many researchers, including the federal government, estimate there are about 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. That's a big increase from the start of the decade, when the Pew Hispanic Center estimated there were about 8.5 million.

Continue reading the article by STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press, in the Douglas Dispatch

Border Patrol aids illegal entrant hurt in fall, 2 more lost in desert

Border Patrol agents provided medical treatment Thursday and Friday to three illegal immigrants found in distress.

At 10:30 p.m. Thursday, about 500 feet east of the Douglas Port of Entry, agents spotted a man who had fallen from the border fence and hurt his knee, said Rob Daniels, the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector spokesman.

Agents called the Douglas Fire Department, and an ambulance took the man, 32, of Mexico to Southeast Arizona Medical Center in Douglas. He had substantial damage to his knee, and surgery was recommended, Daniels said. He was moved to St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson.

The other two incidents occurred on the Tohono O'odham Reservation. On Thursday at 9:30 p.m., a worker from a nursing home called Tohono O'odham police about a person in distress. Police contacted the Border Patrol, which sent an agent.

The agent found a man from Veracruz, Mexico, who said he had entered the country illegally and had been walking for eight days, Daniels said. He said he had run out of food and water. Agents determined he was severely dehydrated and took him to the hospital in Sells.

He was treated and released, then voluntarily returned.

The second rescue occurred Friday at 1:30 a.m. when a Border Patrol agent apprehended an 18-year Guatemalan who said he was lost in the desert, Daniels said. He was complaining of hunger and pain, and his feet were injured.

An emergency medical services team from Sells treated the man for his injuries and took him to the hospital in Sells for further treatment, Daniels said.

From October through August, agents in the Tucson Sector rescued 418 illegal immigrants in 127 incidents, down from 557 people in 178 incidents through the same time period last year, agency figures show.

This article is by Brady McCombs and was published in the Arizona Daily Star

Reservation ban of water for migrants is reported

A Tohono O'odham tribe member who has been putting water in remote desert areas for the past seven years for the benefit of illegal immigrants says he has been told to stop.

The order was given Saturday morning while Mike Wilson was southwest of Sells on the reservation showing 11 non-tribal guests one of the four water stations he operates, Wilson said.

A Tohono O'odham police officer approached Wilson and said the district chairwoman, Veronica Harvey, had instructed her to tell Wilson to take down the water station and escort his guests off the reservation, Wilson said. He didn't take down the two 55-gallon water barrels but left with his guests, he said.

Tohono O'odham Chairman Ned Norris Jr. confirmed Tuesday that Baboquivari District leaders asked Wilson and his guests to leave, but he said he has no knowledge of the request to remove the water station.
Phone calls to Harvey requesting comment were not returned.

The tribe has a standing decision not to allow humanitarian groups to place water on the reservation. Norris, who became chairman after that decision was made, has said the decision falls to the reservation's 11 districts because it's a matter of local concern. He said the same thing about the reported decision to ask Wilson and his guests to leave on Saturday.

"The tribal constitution authorizes each district to govern themselves on issues of local concern," Norris said.

"This, in their view, is an issue of local concern."

Wilson gave the following account of Saturday's events:
Early that morning, Wilson and the group were at one of his water stations east of the village of Topawa on Federal Route 10, commonly known as Fresnal Canyon Road. He was talking about the history of his work in maintaining the water stations to eight seminary students from Denver, their professor and two retired Tucson pastors, the Rev. John Fife and the Rev. Gene Lefebvre.

A tribal police officer drove up to the group and told Wilson that she had received a complaint about non-tribal members being in the Baboquivari District. She told him that the Baboquivari District is a restricted district, which means O'odham are required to notify the board and get permission before bringing in any non-tribal guests, the officer said.

Wilson said he had never heard of the rule.

Continue reading the article by Brady McCombs in the Arizona Daily Star

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