Archive for July, 2005

By ANDREW GALVIN
The Orange County Register

Four years after a power deficit prompted California’s grid manager to impose “rotating outages,” the improvement in the state’s power situation is just barely keeping pace with new demand in fast-growing Southern California.

Southern California “is the worst electricity-supply situation in the entire country,” Joseph Kelliher, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said in June.

This year, we probably have enough power to get through normal summer weather without resorting to blackouts. But if the heat turns extreme, supplies could become severely strained. A regional heat wave across the West would divert power we import from other states, leaving Southern California to depend on its own, barely adequate generating resources.

Combine a heat wave with another crisis such as a wildfire that takes down a major transmission line, and we could be plunged into darkness.

If you’re wondering why we’re in this situation, here are some reasons:

Growth

During the 2000-2001 energy crisis, Northern California was worse off than Southern California. That’s changed, partly because economic and population gains have been faster here. And much of the growth is coming in areas such as the Inland Empire, where summer temperatures are hotter and demand for electricity to run air conditioning is higher.

Meanwhile, most of the new power plants to come online since the last crisis are in Northern California, and most of the plants that have been shuttered or mothballed are in Southern California.

In 2001, transmission bottlenecks limited the amount of power that could be shipped up and down the state, contributing to two extra days of blackouts in the north. Those bottlenecks have been eased through major upgrade projects.

UNCERTAINTY

Even though there is a clear need for new power plants, obstacles to getting them built remain.

The 2000-2001 crisis resulted in part from the state’s failed experiment with a deregulated wholesale market for electricity. That failure left the state’s regulatory system in shambles. Since then, state agencies such as the California Public Utilities Commission have been working to build a new framework, but they aren’t finished. That leaves banks and other financiers uncertain about how they would be allowed to recoup and profit from investments in new power plants.

Even amid that uncertainty, some new-generation plants are getting built, such as Calpine Corp.’s Pastoria Energy Facility near Bakersfield, a 750-megawatt plant that began operation this year. One megawatt is enough to power 650 typical homes during summer.

HEAT

August is the touch-and-go month, when demand for power is typically highest. A forecast prepared by the state’s grid manager, the California Independent System Operator, shows Southern California could come up short if the region experiences the type of pan-Western heat wave that typically occurs in one out of 10 summers.

“It’s a bit disheartening, quite frankly, to see that we’re looking again at … a potentially tight summer, maybe another two,” Pat Wood, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said at a conference in San Francisco in June.

Link to story.

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7/30/2005
By Lisa Richardson
LA Times Staff Writer

The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, head of the organization, had arranged the meeting to take the temperature of the public â?? particularly blacks and Latinos â?? on relations between the two groups.

At least for this audience, gathered at the brotherhood group’s headquarters near Pico and La Cienega boulevards Thursday night in Los Angeles, the temperature was hot.

For two hours, members of the audience of blacks, whites and Latinos spoke with a vehemence usually reserved for the dinner table â?? or late-night talk radio shows. They publicly aired views that are often muttered in L.A. but not spoken out loud.

Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who sat on the meeting’s panel, voiced the view of many in the city’s political elite: “We should not pit groups against each other. Why do we have to look at it as blacks lose, Hispanics win? No one wins in this city without a coalition.”

But the audience of about 80, almost evenly divided among the three groups, had already formed a coalition â?? of anger. People would heckle Parks for the rest of the evening.

Terry Anderson, a radio host who has long opposed illegal immigration, was one of several panel members who blamed illegal immigrants for, in their opinion, stealing jobs from blacks and crowding schools and neighborhoods to unbearable limits.

“We have been invaded; there’s no other word for it,” Anderson said.

The audience clapped and cheered.

Debbie Hernandez, a white member of the audience, said: “Blacks are losing their middle-class status because of illegal aliens. I am willing to go to the streets with my brothers and sisters over this.”

Sherrie Johnson, a resident of Torrance, told Parks, “You aren’t taking a stand for the right side of the argument.

“I believe the purpose of going through the steps to become a citizen is because it protects the country,” she said.

Education and employment emerged as the two most incendiary issues.

Blacks are no longer able to compete for entry-level jobs and construction work, Anderson said, because they are undercut by illegal immigrants willing to work for under-the-table wages.

Members of the audience repeatedly asked one panel member, Richard Alonzo, a district superintendent in the Los Angeles Unified School District, to reveal the number of students in L.A. schools who are illegal immigrants or to find out. He said the district doesn’t collect that information.

One questioner asked him for budget numbers, insisting they would prove that educating Latinos was more expensive than teaching other students. It’s a premise that Alonzo said was wrong.

The numbers matter, Peterson said, because black students attend schools overcrowded by those who have no right to be there. Peterson, who moderated the discussion, is well known in the conservative media, appearing on Fox television talk shows as well as his own syndicated radio program.

“A lot of black boys and girls are dropping out, and it’s because their classes are overwhelmed with illegal Hispanics,” Peterson said.

“Black children are mad about that; black parents are mad about that.”

Parks countered that the fact that schools once regarded as all black are now predominantly Latino does not have to be viewed as a problem. Those schools once were all white, he said.

He was scoffed at again.

“Black children have pride in being Americans, but Mexicans have pride in being Mexicans,” said Frank George, a U.S. citizen who is a native of Mexico. “The problem is that our black children are being assaulted by other children who think they’re in Mexico.”

Unflappable throughout the steady stream of scoffs and jeers, Parks told the crowd its anger was misdirected:

“You can stay angry, but they are not going to go away,” he said. “Whether you want to hear it or not, no one is going to build a fence around the state of California and clear out everyone you think is here illegally.”

Vilified too was Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa â?? not for his heritage, speakers said, but because of his membership in MEChA, a Chicano rights organization, when he was a student at UCLA.

Parks defended his former campaign rival, as did Erinn Carter, a graduate student and panel member representing Hope Community Church. “Is Villaraigosa an issue for African Americans?” Carter said. “Absolutely not. We are in a position to create a coalition now: communities and families and people working together.”

Link to story.

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Gwinnett County, Georgia - During the last primary campaign for the U.S. Senate, the three Republican candidates - Johnny Isakson, Herman Cain and Mac Collins - each visited the Daily Post to speak with reporters and editors. At each session, the candidate was asked the following: “What is the No. 1 issue on the minds of Georgia voters?” All three candidates gave the same answer: immigration.

A few weeks later, the candidates appeared at a debate at the Gwinnett Civic and Cultural Center. Topics discussed were wide-ranging: the war in Iraq, homeland security, abortion and transportation spending, among others. But what topic didn’t surface in the 90-minute debate? Immigration.

Immigration, it seems, has become a touchy subject in some quarters. Nothing else will have greater impact on the future of our nation. Yet when it comes time to have substantive discussion, many would rather not. Perhaps they fear not being “politically correct.” Perhaps they fear being labeled “racist.” Perhaps they don’t want to disturb an inexpensive labor force. Perhaps the politicians don’t want to alienate a voting bloc.

It seems we’re stymied for fear of being regarded as politically incorrect. At all levels of government, the issue of immigration needs to be outed. Leaders and citizens of our cities, counties, states and the nation should discuss problems and solutions. We need to face the problem head-on. Immigration is no place for kid gloves.

Link to story.

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Nearly every day, Zachek spots illegal immigrants crossing his fields on their way north. But calling a law enforcement agency to report them isn’t an option, he said. Cell phones don’t work in this remote stretch of desert. The nearest land line can be almost an hour away when Zachek is working on his 5,000-acre spread, and even then it might be a long-distance call to reach anyone.

“Sometimes you can get ahold of somebody, and sometimes you can’t,” Zachek said.

Even when he does get someone, the closest officer is rarely near his property, Zachek said.

Recognizing ranchers’ frustration, state and federal officials are now giving two-way, police-style radios to border residents. The direct connection to police dispatchers in three of New Mexico’s seven border counties will allow residents to get emergency help or to more easily report illegal activity.

But Bill Johnson, whose family owns more than 100,000 acres land along the border, said the radio program is an unwanted waste of money, and no one should expect help from his family. It’s too dangerous, he says, because human smugglers and drug traffickers would want to know who is talking to law enforcement about their activities.

“They countersurveil us well enough that they know when we go to breakfast,” said Johnson’s son, James. “All these smugglers have is time and money.”

James Johnson, who works alongside his father on the family onion farm, said his family used to use CB radios to call authorities when they saw something suspicious on their land. But then federal authorities told them that criminals in Mexico were watching them.

“I feel kind of guilty that we’re not able to do anything about it, but our priority is our family,” James Johnson said.

Link to story.

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Top officials at the Department of Homeland Security recently announced that arrests during the first two years of Operation Predator have exceeded 6,000.

Since Operation Predator began on July 9, 2003, the initiative has resulted in 6,085 child predator arrests throughout the country - an average of roughly 250 arrests per month and eight arrests per day. While arrests have been made in every state, the most have occurred in these states: Arizona (207), California (1,578), Florida (255), Illinois (282), Michigan (153), Minnesota (190), New Jersey (423), New York (367), Oregon (148) and Texas (545).

Some recent ICE arrests involving criminal aliens who committed child sex crimes include Julio Cesar Rabago-Magana, a Mexican man who raped a four-year-old child in the basement of Mercado Central in Minneapolis, Minn. Rabago-Magana pleaded guilty Oct. 23, 2002 to first-degree criminal sexual conduct. After serving his criminal sentence, he was arrested by ICE agents at his St. Paul home on March 3, 2005, and deported six days later. [I’m sure we’ll see him again.]

Link to story.

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Immigration authorities make an extremely rare move to enforce workplace laws but face criticism because the illegals they busted lied to them. They were asked if they had any children and they said “no.”

ARKADELPHIA, Ark., July 30 (AP) - About 30 children, some as young as 3 months old, were left without their parents this week after immigration officials raided a poultry plant here and took the parents away to face possible deportation.

“A lot of those families had kids in day care in different places,” said Mayor Charles Hollingshead, “and they didn’t know why Mommy and Daddy didn’t come pick them up.”

The federal officials arrested 119 people on Tuesday in the raid at the plant, Petit Jean Poultry, after a former worker said she had supplied others with fake ID cards. The authorities said that 115 of the people were from Mexico and the others from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Temple Black, a spokesman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in New Orleans, said Friday that those arrested were asked whether they had children, and they all said they did not.

“We interviewed every person and asked that specific question,” Mr. Black said, “and we were told that there were none.”

Mr. Black later said that some of those arrested told the officials that their children were with relatives. Children in such a situation are normally placed with relatives until their parents are returned to the community or deported.

While some of the workers arrested on Tuesday were able to call and arrange care for their children, others were not.

“A lot of families are separated now, wives, moms and dads,” said the Rev. Rudy Gutierrez, pastor of La Primera Iglesia Bautista of Arkadelphia, which arranged for care of some of the children.

Jose Luis Vidal said his sister and brother-in-law were arrested in the raid and deported to Laredo, Mexico, leaving children ages 10, 5 and 1.

“The children are very sad, especially the baby,” Mr. Vidal said in an interview conducted in Spanish. “She cries all the time.” He said his sister was trying to obtain a work permit to return to the United States.

Sheriff Troy Tucker of Clark County said the immigration officials failed to tell his agency about the raid. If they had, deputies would have made sure the officials knew about the children, some of whom had been in the local public schools for years, he said.

“The kids were just left,” Sheriff Tucker said. The officials were “not doing their job by simply questioning them and asking them whether they have children and not contacting anyone locally.” [they should have known that people who break the law are liars]

Some of the workers agreed to deportation, and others have challenged their arrests.

Those fighting deportation were released pending hearings. [never to be seen again]

Mr. Gutierrez said he was trying to help the children cope until their parents returned and to connect them with nearby relatives.

The arrests followed the identity-theft conviction of Maria Moreno of Arkadelphia, who admitted that she unlawfully sold Social Security cards and other documents. Mr. Black of the immigration office said many at Petit Jean had purchased birth certificates and Social Security cards, then used those documents to obtain ID cards from the State of Arkansas.


Link to story.

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By KEN MAGUIRE, Associated Press Writer

The federal government filed a lawsuit Friday alleging that the city’s election division discriminates against Hispanic and Asian-American voters by not offering enough services for immigrants who do not speak English.

Because of its growing Hispanic population, Boston has been required since 1992 to provide all election materials in Spanish, but the lawsuit alleges the city’s elections Web site and notices posted in polling places were only in English.

“Despite having had an unequivocal obligation â?? for 13 years â?? to provide Spanish language information to voters who need it…the city of Boston has consistently fallen well short of the mark,” Bradley J. Schlozman, acting assistant attorney general, said in a statement.

The city also has failed to recruit a pool of bilingual poll workers to help voters who speak Spanish, Chinese or Vietnamese, the suit alleged.

City officials said they already provide ballots in English and Spanish. They said the Justice Department was intent on gaining news coverage rather than solving perceived problems.

“It is a totally unsubstantiated complaint,” said Merita Hopkins, the city’s top attorney and chief of staff to Mayor Thomas Menino. “They’ve insisted that they’re going to sue us. They’re going around the country and doing this.”

A check Friday night of the Web site showed there was a link to a Spanish language version.

The lawsuit, which names Menino, city councilors and elections officials as defendants, asks the court to force Boston to comply with the law and to authorize the appointment of federal examiners for elections in Boston through 2007.

Justice Department officials said the lawsuit was part of a national initiative in several states. Complaints also have been filed in California, Florida, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington.

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Brookhaven officials close 3 homes, citing fire hazards; owners face $10,000 fines for violating

Brookhaven town officials Friday launched another volley in their ongoing war on illegal housing, ordering the closing of three residences they said housed as many as 90 tenants.

In documents filed in State Supreme Court in Riverhead, the town alleged that the conditions in the houses, all zoned for single-family — one in Ronkonkoma and two in Farmingville — were filthy and overcrowded, with fire hazards such as exposed wiring and blocked exits.

The homeowners each face possible $10,000 fines for violations of town codes, officials said. Two of the homeowners could not be reached for comment, but one said he’d been duped by his tenants. Officials said the homeowners must bring the three homes up to code.

The court papers said the tenants were to be out of the houses as of Thursday. But as of Friday night, some tenants remained at all three addresses.

At 177 Woodycrest Dr. in Farmingville, the documents show that “between 27 and 33 people” shared a space where double beds blocked the front door and human waste overflowed from three backyard cesspools. Also in Farmingville, at 11 Cedar Oaks Ave., 33 men lived with blocked exits and no smoke detectors, the court papers said. Town inspectors said there were 24 beds in five bedrooms at the house, with no living room space.

And at 19 Doug Beth Dr. in Ronkonkoma, according to the documents, combustibles were stacked near a boiler, exposed wiring hung from walls and 28 men squeezed into a space zoned for a single family. The documents show there were 17 beds packed into the house.

At the town’s request, State Supreme Court Justice Ralph Castello ordered the houses closed as of July 28. Brookhaven Councilman James Tullo said safety concerns at the three addresses trumped the need for housing.

“God forbid if there had been a fire,” Tullo said. “It could have been catastrophic.”

Brookhaven Town spokeswoman Inez Birbiglia said that notices in Spanish and English were posted at all three houses listing four social services agencies that could steer occupants into temporary housing.

However, officials at three of the four agencies listed on the notices said their organizations could do little for the evicted tenants. “We don’t do housing,” said Carmen Maquilon, director of Catholic Charities immigration services, one of the agencies listed on the notice. “I’m outraged because it gives false information.”

After Friday’s court order, Nadia Marin-Molina, director of the Workplace Project, an immigration advocacy group, said she called the Nassau-Suffolk Coalition for the Homeless, apparently the only agency listed on the town notice that is devoted to housing.

“I called and left messages and said, ‘Where should people stay tonight?’” Marin-Molina said. “I’m afraid that it’s Friday and nobody’s there.” Calls to the coalition offices in Hempstead by Newsday were also not returned.

Friday’s actions were the latest in a series taken by Brookhaven Town to combat illegally overcrowded houses. Last month, the town ordered shut three other rooming houses in Farmingville. Advocacy groups have said some of the residents of those houses became homeless as a result.

After the notices were posted at the three houses Friday, the ousted tenants at 177 Woodycrest did not seem to understand that the house had been ordered closed. Several said they had nowhere to go.

“It’s an injustice what they are doing,” said a 20-year-old man who gave his name as Armando. He would not give his last name. Armando said he shared the basement of the rooming house with six others, including Victor, 26, who told Newsday he may now have to go back to Mexico.

“We know that they don’t want us here,” Victor said in Spanish.

Neighbors of the Farmingville houses had a different perspective. They said the two houses were extremely crowded.

“These manual labor trucks drop off a bunch of people in front of one house and the house absorbs them like a sponge,” said Dennis Gordon, 63, of Farmingville, who said he walks by 177 Woodycrest every day.

Kathy Lyons, 60, lives two doors from the same address and she said she was concerned about having so many strangers live nearby.

“There is a tremendous amount of men who come in and out of that house all morning from 6 a.m. on, walking or riding bicycles,” she said. “I have a 10-year-old granddaughter and I don’t let her go up there because there’s strange men around.”

Link to story.

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Phoenix, Ariz. (July 22, 2005) - A new report from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) indicates that Arizona’s crime rates continue to be the highest in the nation, a trend that began in 2000. According to an updated report by ACJC, Arizona Crime Trends: A System Review, the state ranks number one in Crime Index, property crime and motor vehicle theft. Further, Arizona ranks in the top 10 nationally for murder, burglary and larceny-theft. Specifically, Arizona is ranked fifth in the nation for murder, fourth for burglary, and second in larceny-theft. In addition, Arizona was ranked 13th in violent crimes in overall Crime Index. The Crime Index is a national model used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to capture state-by-state reported data on violent crime and property crime.

One of the major challenges confronting Arizona is the state’s dramatic population increase since 1993. Arizona’s population grew more than three times faster the national average between 1993 and 2003. “Since 1993, the population in Arizona has nearly doubled, increasing 41.8 percent in contrast to a 12.8 percent national average,” explained Steve Ballance, director of ACJC’s Statistical Analysis Center (SAC).

Criminal justice agencies in Arizona have seen an increase in workloads tied to the 41.8 percent increase in population over the last decade. However, there has not been a corresponding increase in funding or positions. The number of felony cases filed has increased by more than 27,000 over the last 10 years with 28,522 in FY1994 compared to 54,420 in FY2004, a 35.4 percent increase. When all criminal case filings are considered, there was a statewide increase of 81.8 percent during this time period.

The prison population increased 74 percent between 1993 and 2003. Changes in sentencing structure, as well as an increase in the population in Arizona, have contributed to this increase. The 2004 prison population was approximately 2,000 inmates more than the prisons are rated to hold. Factors believed to contribute to this growth include state general population growth, mandatory sentencing, an increased level of methamphetamine drug use, increased drug enforcement activity (the drug war), increased street gang activity in the state, a stiffening of penalties for driving under the influence, and harsher penalties for dangerous and repetitive offenders under Truth in Sentencing. Also, the total probation population increased 20.2 percent in the past five years.

The only area in the criminal justice system that has not seen a significant increase in actual numbers is the juvenile justice system. Between FY1996 and FY2004, referrals into the juvenile justice system decreased 1.9 percent.

The following information demonstrates the number of reported crimes in Arizona based on per 100,000 inhabitants because it better reflects the volume and type of crime occurring among populations.

See table

In explanation, the Crime Index is based on the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and is composed of selected offenses to gauge fluctuations in the volume and rate of crime reported to those agencies. The overall Crime Index is further broken down into two categories: 1) Violent crime covers murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery; while 2) property crime is defined as burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft. Arizona ranks number one in property crime and motor vehicle theft, which is the reason why the state is also number one in overall Crime Index rates as there are higher incidences of these crimes overall.

The total Crime Index rate in Arizona fell 17.3 percent between 1993 and 2003. While this represented a large drop in crime, the national Crime Index rate decreased by 24.9 percent. Also important to note is that while most Arizona crime rates decreased, two Crime Index areas saw substantial increases: murder increased by 11.3 percent and rape increased by 12.9 percent. In 1993, Arizona ranked 19th for murder; in 2003, the state ranked fifth. In spite of the increase in incidences of rape, Arizona ranked 24th in 1993 and in 2003.

Given the complex nature of the problem, no one agency or researcher can pinpoint an exact cause for Arizona’s higher-than-national-average crime rates. [could it be because of illegal immigration?] The ACJC Crime Report demonstrates correlations between the increase in crime and associated workloads and the increase in population, while noting that there has not been a proportionate increase in funding for criminal justice agencies. These agencies have seen a drastic reduction in federal funding for local law enforcement and prosecution programs such as the Byrne/Justice Assistance Grants program, which provides funding to local law enforcement to combat drug and gang-related crimes, and Project Safe Neighborhoods, an initiative to allow law enforcement and prosecution to better target firearm violence. The future of both of these federally funded programs is in question.

“The increase in crime and the workload placed on Arizona’s criminal justice system, coupled with the loss in funding, is a serious public safety concern,” said John A. Blackburn Jr., ACJC’s executive director. “Policy makers must take a hard look at where funding would be best directed, and the criminal justice community must provide these policy makers with the data that indicates where the funding will have the greatest impact.”

SAC director Steve Ballance concurs. “We need data-driven policy, and we need to measure the outcomes and results. Without it, we cannot formulate an aggressive strategy to affect these crime rates.”

This third edition of the Crime Trends report, compiled and analyzed by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission’s SAC unit, was the result of the collaborative efforts of researchers from several agencies within the criminal justice system in Arizona. They include the Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts, Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, Arizona Department of Corrections, and Arizona Department of Public Safety.

For more information about this report and its findings, please contact ACJC Public Information Officer Mary Marshall at 602-364-1156.

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Sat Jul 30,12:43 AM ET

The United States is closing temporarily its consulate in this lawless Mexican border city after rival drug gangs clashed with bazookas, hand grenades and heavy machine-gun fire.

“A violent battle involving unusually advanced weaponry took place between armed criminal factions last night in Nuevo Laredo,” U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza said on Friday.

He said he was ordering the consulate in Nuevo Laredo closed for all of next week and would only reopen it if the security situation improved.

Garza called on Mexico to swiftly bring the situation under control.

Mexico reacted angrily to Garza’s words, saying both countries shared a responsibility to fight drug crime.

“Repeated public statements by the U.S. Embassy in Mexico about the border situation in no way help bilateral efforts to end border crime,” the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The latest battle erupted late on Thursday when about 30 masked gunmen opened fire on a suspected drug-cartel safe house in Nuevo Laredo, across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas, blasting off its doors and strafing the facade with bullets.

Police and witnesses said six men trapped in the house returned fire in a gun battle that raged for 20 minutes, littering the street with spent cartridges and sending neighbors diving for cover, although no one was killed.

“I grabbed my daughter tight … and we hid under the bed until the explosions stopped,” said one neighbor, who identified himself as Carlos.

Nuevo Laredo is a key trade hub but it is also gripped by warring drug cartels seeking control of lucrative cocaine, marijuana and amphetamine smuggling routes.

Dozens of people, including 18 police officers, have been murdered here this year in a war between well-armed gangs from western Sinaloa state and the local Gulf cartel.

The State Department has this year repeatedly warned American citizens not to travel to Nuevo Laredo, a city of 330,000 people that has long been notorious for drug crime and kidnappings.

Public order lurched to new lows in early June when gunmen shot and killed the city’s new police chief just hours after he was sworn into office.

The government then sent troops and federal police to take over Nuevo Laredo, and the city’s entire local police force was suspended for investigations into links with the drug barons.

Despite the heavy presence of army troops, more than 20 people have since been shot dead.

Link to story.

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Since the Bush administration has shot down hiring and funding proposals for more Border Patrol Agents and they have announced PR plans to marginalize the anti-illegal immigration movement in order to secure a victory for their amnesty [guest worker] plans it seems very suspicious that they are now looking for 30,000 “applicants” for the US Border patrol. Some think they are looking to get the personal information on people who would like to see our borders more secure, others think this is a sneaky way to recruit troops for Iraq. To me this looks like the kind of thing they will use as a talking point to show how tough they are on enforcement while they push their amnesty program. They are sneaky bastards, that’s for sure.

NOW RECRUITING
Border Patrol Agent GS-1896-05/07
Need 30,000 Applicants by September 30, 2005

Are you interested in a job with wide-open spaces and opportunities to match?

As a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, your primary focus would be to work in tandem with your U.S. Customs and Border Protection partners to prevent the entry of terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States. Border Patrol Agents also detect and prevent the smuggling and unlawful entry of undocumented aliens into the United States, and apprehend those people found to be in violation of the immigration laws. Also, due to the increase in drug smuggling operations, the Border Patrol is the primary drug-interdicting agency along the land border between the ports of entry.

One of the most important duties performed by a Border Patrol Agent is known as ‘line-watch’. This involves the detection and apprehension of undocumented aliens and their smugglers by maintaining surveillance from a covert position, pursuing leads, responding to electronic sensor alarms, utilizing infrared scopes during night operations, using low-light level television systems, sighting aircraft, and interpreting and following tracks, marks, and other physical evidence. In addition, Border Patrol Agents perform traffic checks, traffic observation, city patrol transportation checks, and other administrative, intelligence, and anti-smuggling activities.

Remember the old keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer?

Link to job posting.

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We are experiencing massive population growth due to illegal immigration. Major cities such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as well as many farms rely on water drawn from the Colorado river.

Vegas heading for ‘dry future’
By Carmen Roberts
BBC News

Las Vegas is world-renowned as a city of fantasy, flaunting its reputation for excess. It appears a green oasis of refrigerated plenty, set in a blazing desert.

But environmentalists warn water supplies could run dry within the next 50 years; while urban sprawl is out of control and development is encroaching on protected areas.

“The hotel casinos use only 30% of their water allocation on outdoor use, while 70% is used indoors in rooms and kitchens and that water is reclaimed and used again,” says Jaime Cruz, energy manager with the MGM Mirage Corporation.

But when you look at the residential statistics, the figures are reversed.

Water authorities estimate around 70% of residential water is used outdoors, washing the car and irrigating the lawns, and only 30% is used indoors.

Although Nevada has been banking excess water from the Colorado River in Arizona, environmentalists fear this is a short-term solution.

Jeff van Ee, an environmental activist and a member of the Southern Nevada Planning Authority, fears that, “in 15-20 years from now, our current supplies will be overtaxed and we will need to find an alternate source of water.”

Mr Van Ee laments that the town he arrived in some 20 years ago is now the fastest growing urban area in the country.

“It seems there are too few of us that are willing to stand up and say we need to protect our environment.”

Link to story.

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To get an accurate account of how things are going at the border you need to hear it from an actual Minuteman. Sound bites on the television and lazy newspaper reporters give a very cloudy impression of everything.

From: Jim
Date: 07/28/05 15:08:33

Yesterday Wednesday found me trying to get a nap, unsuccessfully of course. I was only able to secure two 2 1/2 hour “rest periods”, where I never actually fell asleep. I got one at the high base, and one at the VFW Post 2080, where the motor home is parked, but so many people are coming in and out, it’s like a zoo to get some rest. You can actually get more rest up on the hill, with the possibility of being shot, than you can down in main camp. After seeing that our high camp had received their supplies for the day, and attending the 6:00PM briefing with Jim Chase, who was leading the main group out to Campo again, I dressed out in my “Rambo” gear, and went up to camp about an hour before dark. Big Bob out of Fullerton is a good man. If you want something done, just ask Bob to do it, and then forget it! Bob will get it done. Brett had ordered two extra 9mm clips for his Berretta pistol, and Bob delivered. I had asked Bob if he could transport up 6 gallons of gas to camp, and when I got there, the gas had beaten me! That Bob is one O.K. guy! The main crew of MM went to Jacumba (ha-come-ba)near the area where the shooting had occurred on last Saturday night. We have been joined by several off duty Federal Law Enforcement officials, who asked that they and their department not be identified. If we are fired on by coyotes from Mexico, they are going to see to it that those coyotes never fire again, if you get my drift. Also the Border Patrol brought in one of their armored cars to deal with any hooting from Mexico. Things are starting to look bad for people who are coyotes, I would say. However, the only incident of consequence was when a Border Patrol Agent was injured by a thrown rock, which struck him in the hand, splitting it open. MM were the first to administer first aid to the injured agent, whose hand was split wide open by the cowardly Mexican attack. The rest of the shift at Jacumba passed without any significant incidents. As to the Sp Ops area, we were setting up a 30 ft. high communications tower at the observation post when a San Diego County Sheriff’s Helicopter overflew our position. He circled us a couple of times, and then landed about fifty yards away! I was up on top of the platform guiding the connections together as he landed, so I didn’t get a good look at who stepped out of the chopper, but one of the guys said that they thought it was Bill Kolender, the actual Sheriff, himself. He was at least a very high ranking police officer, as this chopper was apparently at his personal command and disposal. He asked the guys if any of us had been shot at yet, and we told him no. He was admiring our 30 ft. high ham tower, and the ham told him we now had better comms than the Border Patrol, since we are much higher than their 100 ft. high tower way down in the valley, and only have to operate on 5 watts. We could operate on much more, but it is unecessary, as it is pointless to reach a unit 20 miles away, and for them not be able to transmitt back to you in response. The ham plans on installing a phone patch in the next day or two. The sheriff took off, after saying he might be back to see us later, but headed back towards San Diego, from whence he had come. He never showed up again last night. Our camp is very professional looking, with a yellow, rattlesnake flag flying atop, with “Don’t tread on me” emblazoned on it, and two more 3X5 American Flags dececding down the hill we are on, in the direction of Gloria Canyon. We even have flood lights on both American Flags after dark. It must look to the coyotes like we are planning on staying for a while. By the way, there were lots and lots of headlights arriving at the “warehouse” last night about 11:00PM or so. We braced ourselves for the onslaught that we were anticipating, but it never occurred. No drug shipments. No illegals. No shootings. Nothing…all night long…Could it be that the coyotes have decided to just wait us out, and then go back to business as usual? We hope so. The coyote’s talk with Brett the other day would tend to jive with the big meeting last night at the warehouse. Can you imagine what the coyotes in the warehouse must be thinking, as they look out their windows and see more construction, and lighted American Flags progressing deep into “THEIR” territory? Now there’s a communications tower erected, and Sheriff’s helicopters landing there? Very, very, bad for “business”, people…very bad. How about the press coverage on the shooting last Saturday night? No wonder they held a big meeting… We have kept the cork in the Gloria Canyon Bottle for three consecutive nights, and plan to keep it there ’till we leave.

More to come,
Junction Jim on the very active Campo Border

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Why don’t Mexicans understand that these are just good honest hardworking people trying to make a better life for themselves. I firmly believe that Mexico should absorb all of Central and South America’s poverty stricken workers, Mara Salvatrucha gang members, and drug traffickers so we don’t have to. Besides, it will make them a stronger nation!

MEXICO CITY - For Mexico, the shoe is now on the other foot.
After decades as the main source of illegal immigrants in the United States, Mexico is struggling to stop a rising tide of illegal migration on its own soil, building detention centers, adding immigration agents and expelling record numbers of foreigners.

The wave of migrants from Central America, Ecuador, Brazil and other countries threatens to drive up Mexico’s border patrol costs by 30 percent this year as authorities repatriate an unprecedented 215,000 people, the head of the country’s National Migration Institute has warned Mexico’s Congress.

Officials are predicting a record 215,000 deportations this year. From January to the end of May, authorities expelled 107,349 people, an increase of 12.5 percent over 2004.

Since 2003, the Mexican government has remodeled 45 detention centers and built two more in Tijuana and Los Cabos to handle the influx of migrants.

Three more are under construction in Tapachula, along the Guatemalan border; in Acayucan, along a major highway in the state of Veracruz; and in Janos, 30 miles south of the New Mexico border in Chihuahua state.


“They are coming and taking jobs the Mexicans don’t want,”
said Rodolfo Casillas, a migration expert at the Latin American School of Social Sciences in Mexico City.

Link to story.

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This is a story from the Orange County Register.

GORDON DILLOW
Register columnist

Even before the shooting started, it was a wild night on the border.

I had gone down to the U.S.-Mexico border last weekend to take a look at the California Minutemen, the volunteer, civilian border watchers who have been in the news recently. An offshoot of the Minuteman Project in Arizona this past spring, the California Minutemen have spent the past 10 days strung out along a 30-mile stretch of border in San Diego County, their mission to observe and report illegal immigration and other illegal border activities.

Of course, their critics, including the ACLU and various Latino activist groups, call the Minutemen “vigilantes,” “racists” and even “terrorists,” and organized demonstrators have repeatedly accosted them during their border-watch activities. Meanwhile, the news media make a big deal out of the fact that many of the Minutemen volunteers carry firearms while they’re on the border - as if packing a pistol in desolate and dangerous country somehow makes you a nut.

But the 50 or so Minutemen volunteers who gathered Saturday at their temporary headquarters in a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in the tiny border hamlet of Campo, 40 miles east of San Diego, didn’t seem like nuts to me. The vast majority of them were retirees, or former military men, or working people with some time off who simply believe that illegal immigration - emphasis on the “illegal” - is a serious threat to our nation. And if the federal government won’t do anything about it, they say, then they’ll do what they can as citizens to stop it.

“There’s a lot of wonderful, brilliant people here who hate what’s happening to America,” volunteer Barry Ames, a Lake Forest heavy-equipment operator, told me outside the Campo VFW. As for being a gun-toting vigilante, Barry added: “I’m not here to shoot anybody. I’m not even armed.”

So as evening approached, the Minutemen volunteers, most dressed in T-shirts and jeans, crammed into a room in the VFW hall to get their nightly marching orders from California Minuteman organizer Jim Chase.

The rules were simple: You are observers, not cops. If you spot illegal activity, call the Border Patrol. Do not physically touch or impede anyone in any way. If you have a weapon, keep it in your holster unless your life is in direct and immediate danger.

With that, the volunteers headed out to take up their stations on the border. I tagged along with a group of 15 volunteers led by Bob Shuff, 65, of Fullerton, a burly, gravel-voiced former Marine and a veteran of the Minuteman Project in Arizona. Bob led a caravan of volunteers’ vehicles 20 miles east, to the tiny border town of Jacumba.

The border there is marked by a metal fence, 12 feet tall in some places, only 4 feet high in others, flanked by a dirt road on the U.S. side that snakes over steep hills and into rugged canyons. The fence isn’t much of a barrier; where you can’t just climb over or under it, it is riddled with gaps and holes.

The area is notorious for people and drug smuggling. Just the night before, the Minutemen observers had alerted the Border Patrol to a car stopping by the fence to pick up half a dozen illegal immigrants and reportedly some drugs; the Border Patrol caught them up the road.

This night, as the sun goes down, Bob Shuff positions small groups of volunteers at intervals along a half-mile stretch of border, each with a walkie-talkie.

“This is not a game,” Bob tells them. “Stay alert and be careful.”

It’s good advice. Border Patrol agents had already warned the volunteers to watch out for rocks being thrown over the fence; getting rocked is a common occurrence for Border Patrol agents here.

“We’re here because we think we can help,” Minuteman volunteer Susan Espinoza of Delta, Utah, tells me as she stands watch with her husband, Manny, a big-rig truck driver. “But it is kind of scary.”

It gets scarier. On the Mexico side of the border two men in a pickup drive up and glare at the volunteers over a low section of the border fence, then pepper them with dirt and gravel as they spin the truck around. From a dark hillside on the Mexico side voices shout out in English, “We’ll kill you, you ——s!” and “That’s a Mexican road!”

At one point, a rock sails over the 12-foot fence in the darkness and hits a female volunteer’s car. Then at about 9 p.m. some volunteers are driving their SUV on the dirt road when - bam! bam! - two gunshot rounds fired from the Mexico side hit the metal fence. (I heard two; others say there were three.) Shortly thereafter Bob Shuff and I are driving along the same stretch in his pickup when - bam! - another round hits the fence.

“This is no joke,” Bob growls. I’m certainly not laughing.

The gunfire has some of the Minutemen spooked. “Uh, isn’t this getting a little dangerous?” I hear one nervously say. Others say they don’t care, they want to stay.

But finally good sense prevails. At about 9:40 p.m. Bob orders the volunteers to safely regroup about a hundred yards back from the border.

Ironically, while they’re standing there, some San Diego County sheriff’s deputies, one armed with an M-16, drive up and make the Minutemen volunteers line up by the road for questioning. Apparently a nearby resident on the U.S. side had seen the Minutemen and called the cops. The police told them they couldn’t carry loaded guns or they’d be arrested.

As you might expect, this causes some grumbling. “We get shot at, and the cops are hassling us?” one says.

Finally, just after 10 p.m., Bob Shuff calls it a night and the Minutemen head back to the VFW post in Campo.

“We did what we could,” Bob tells me.

But despite the violence, and the continued threat of it, the Minuteman organizers say they won’t stop their border watching.

“We’re holding the line,” Minuteman co-founder Jim Gilchrist, a Marine Vietnam veteran from Aliso Viejo, told me later. “We’re going to win, we’re going to bring this to the attention of the American people.”

Well, I respect the Minutemen volunteers’ commitment and dedication to an important cause. But as you can see, the border is a dangerous place, and really no place for civilians, however well-intentioned. I fear that sooner or later one of them is going to get hurt or even killed.

Yes, maybe many of the Minutemen are willing to take that risk. But it’s a shame that, until the federal government and the politicians live up to their responsibilities to protect and secure our borders, some of them will feel that they have to.

Link to story.

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