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...

Minuteman Meltdown?

Traditionally tight-knit anti-illegal immigration organizations are roiled in internal conflict.

Struggles for power and finances have led leaders in the movement to split ties with Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minuteman Project.

Bickering continues over who has control of the original Minuteman organization and once faithful members are now deserting the group. Barbed e-mails and accusations fly among the former Minuteman loyalists.

“I’m fighting on three fronts,” Gilchrist said. “I’m fighting the Federal government, I’m fighting the reconquistas, and I’m fighting the people defecting from my own organization.”

Gilchrist’s Minuteman Project, which has become nearly synonymous with the anti-illegal immigration movement, is under fire from many other like-minded groups.

William Gheen, of the North Carolina-based Americans for Legal Immigration political action committee (ALIPAC), said Gilchrist is a threat to the anti-illegal immigration movement. Gheen said people in his organization receive bizarre e-mails from the Minuteman founder.

“We see Gilchrist as prone to act against the good of the movement,” Gheen said. “He has a pattern of broken alliances and relationships.”

Read the full article by Josh Aden in the Daily Pilot

Feds admit mistakenly jailing citizens as illegal immigrants

WASHINGTON — A top Immigration and Customs Enforcement official acknowledged Wednesday that his agency has mistakenly detained U.S. citizens as illegal immigrants, but he denied that his agency has widespread problems with deporting the wrong people.

Gary Mead, ICE's deputy director of detention and removal operations, testified during a House of Representatives subcommittee hearing that U.S. citizens have been detained on "extremely" rare occasions, but he blamed the mix-ups on conflicting information from the detainees.

Nonetheless, Mead said his agency is reviewing its handling of people who claim to be U.S. citizens "to determine if even greater safeguards can be put in place."

The testimony before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law came after immigration advocates told McClatchy that they'd seen a small but growing number of cases of U.S. citizens who've been mistakenly detained and sometimes deported by ICE. They accuse agents of ignoring valid assertions of citizenship in the rush to deport more illegal immigrants.

Unlike suspects charged in criminal courts, detainees accused of immigration violations don't have a right to an attorney, and three-quarters of them represent themselves.

Read the full article By MARISA TAYLOR in the Houston Chronicle

Arizona economy bracing for immigration crackdown

PHOENIX, Arizona (AFP) — New laws targeting employers who hire illegal immigrants take effect here on January 1, with experts predicting the move may cost the state's economy billions of dollars in lost income and taxes.

The new laws are described as the toughest local anti-illegal immigration legislation in the United States, and will sanction businesses who knowingly hire undocumented workers.

Any employer who falls foul of the law will see their business license suspended for 10 days for a first offense; a second infraction will see the license permanently revoked.

Judith Gans, a University of Arizona immigration policy expert who has studied the economic impact of illegal immigrants, said the new law will have a dramatic effect on the local economy.

"Industries will shrink and prices will go up," Gans told AFP.

The price of a hamburger, a head of lettuce, and a week's worth of gardening services will all increase as workforces shrink, Gans said.

Illegal immigrants "are filling gaps in the labor force, and as those gaps widen, prices will go up," she said. "That theory is not contested."

According to an October study released by Gans, Arizona's foreign-born population has tripled in less than two decades, from about 269,000 in 1990 to 831,000 in 2004.

Experts peg the state's illegal immigrant population at about half a million. Workers, mainly from Mexico, flock to pick lettuce in Yuma, make sushi in Phoenix, and clean hotel rooms in Flagstaff.

According to Gans' study, they make up 59 percent of the workforce in farming; 27 percent in construction; 51 percent in landscaping; 26 percent in hotel work; 23 percent in restaurants; 33 percent in private homes; and 46 percent in textile manufacturing.

Read the full article here.

'Deadliest migrant trail in U.S.' is right on Tucson's doorstep

SELLS — Elena Toribio Lazaro and 10 others slipped across the border into Arizona at about 3 a.m. on a warm night in June.
Twelve hours later, as the sun beat down on the Baboquivari Valley and the temperature climbed to 105 degrees or more, the 24-year-old mother became sick and struggled to walk. A 28-year-old man she knew from their hometown of Acambay in central Mexico carried her for a while.
Then he set her down under a tree and placed a shirt over her for shade. Their guide and the rest of the group left the pair behind. When she stopped breathing, her companion went looking for help.

By the time U.S. Border Patrol agents made it to that tree that afternoon, she was dead.

Toribio died in a smuggling corridor that has claimed the lives of 229 border crossers since the beginning of fiscal 2000 — more than three times the average number of deaths in other segments of the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, the Arizona Daily Star found in an analysis of 1,156 deaths recorded by the Border Patrol. Most died of the heat.

"It is the deadliest migrant trail in the United States," said Mike Wilson, a tribal member who sets up and maintains water stations on the Tohono O'odham Reservation.

The corridor is an 18-mile-wide swath of mesquite and cactus running from Mexico north through Sells, bordered on the east by the craggy Baboquivari Mountains and on the west by open desert. Agents know it as the "Little Tucson corridor," named for Ali Chukson, the O'odham village near where smugglers often pick up people who have trekked through the desert.

This route has been a deadly, double-edged sword for illegal border crossers in the last decade. Remote, sparsely populated, with a relatively small presence of Border Patrol agents and near foothills and canyons that offer cover, it has been an ideal route for avoiding detection. But those same characteristics mean people who get lost, sick or dehydrated face long odds of surviving.

"If you are out here in the middle of nowhere, it's all or nothing," said Sgt. Vincent Garcia of the Tohono O'odham Police Department. "You don't know where you are at, you are from another country, you don't know what the terrain is like, you don't know where the roads are at. ... You just need to keep heading north."

Read the full article by Brady McCombs and Enric Volante in the Arizona Daily Star

Helping boy came first, says illegal immigrant

PHOENIX - An illegal immigrant who gave up his long walk into the United States to help a boy whose mother was killed in a van crash in the desert said Wednesday that he never thought of leaving the child.

"I am a father of four children. For that, I stayed," Manuel Jesus Cordova Soberanes said in Spanish from his home in the Mexican state of Sonora. "I never could have left him. Never."

Authorities said Cordova may have saved the life of 9-year-old Christopher Buztheitner, whose mother was killed when their van ran off a cliff in a remote area north of the Mexican border on Thanksgiving Day.

A spokeswoman for the Mexican consulate in Nogales said the office is working to obtain a short-term visa for Cordova so he can come to Arizona and be recognized for his actions.

The 26-year-old bricklayer was two days into his walk and about 50 miles from Tucson when he saw the boy, who had walked away from the crash.

From his home in Magdalena de Kino, Cordova said Christopher had scrapes on his leg and was dressed in shorts despite the desert cold. He had his dog with him.

Neither Cordova nor Christopher spoke the other's language, but the boy took the migrant to the edge of a canyon and showed him the accident site.

Authorities said Christopher and his mother, 45-year-old Dawn Alice Tomko, had been in the area camping. Tomko was driving on a U.S. Forest Service road when she lost control of the van, which landed 300 feet from the road.

"I felt frustrated and sad because I couldn't do anything for the mother," Cordova said.

The boy was distraught but did not cry, he said. He gave him the sweater he was wearing and found chocolate and cookies in the van to feed him. He built a fire, and the two hunkered down. The boy slept most of the night; Cordova tended the fire.

Fourteen hours later, a group of hunters found the pair and called for help. U.S. Border Patrol agents took Cordova into custody, and Christopher was flown to a hospital in Tucson.

Christopher was reunited with family over the weekend.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said Cordova is "very special and compassionate" and may have saved the boy's life.

Adriana Hoyos Rodriguez, the mayor of Magdalena de Kino, called Cordova a hero. "He left everything to save that boy."

Article by the Associated Press, Published November 29th in the St. Petersburg Times

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