Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rough Justice in Waterloo

The NY Times editorially blasted ICE and the Bush administration for the rough justice handed down to the undocumented workers rounded up at a kosher slaughtering house in Potsville, IA, They were herded into a livestock exhibition center in Waterloo, where the U.S. attorneys charged many with the felony of using false documentation. From the beginning lawyers protested the swift justice, but now a legal interpreter charges that many of those who plead to a felony did not really understand what was happening. (See posting for July, 11, 2008.)

The city of Escondido, in northern San Diego County, has given up trying to drive out the undocumented through sanctions on landlords or employers. Now it will charge them directly as a "public nuisance" -- for messy garbage cans, illegal parking, leaving abandoned cars in the back yard and the like. The police are checking all arrested or motorists stopped for traffic violation to check on immigration status. Those caught up in the net are turned over to ICE for deportation. (See LA Times article.)

Arizona, both to slow illegal immigration and strike at the coyotes that trade on smuggling immigrants, had had some success at hurt the smugglers where it hurts -- their money. But now it seems the coyotes -- a nasty lot, but not dumb -- have devised alternates to routing the money. (See Arizona Republic article.) The smuggling of undocumented immigrants is unquestionably one of the worse features of the immigration crisis on the border. The coyotes system arose out of the desperation of immigrants to get here and from the needlessly harsh barriers this country has raised against a poorer neighbor. Since the coyotes are not in it for humanitarian purposes, they strike a hard bargain with the border-crossers. Payments are high, and if the migrants don't pay in full, they are often held hostage til they do. Coyotes are known to abandon crossers, even to kill them, if the border patrol gets to close. Gangs of coyotes are known to fight each other over over control of migrants much as their cousins the drug smugglers.

No comments: