Thursday, February 26, 2009

Illegal Migration -- Southward

The drug wars along the U.S.-Mexican border are fueled by guns from the north. With the current crack down by the Mexican federal government, the traffic in guns has quicken and has been dealing in more lethal weaponry. The tolerant U.S. and state gun laws has made it easy to purchase military quality guns and smuggle them into Mexico. There are 6,600 gun dealers along the border. They do not have to report the sale of a high-caliber weapon to the government and can sell to anyone with little documentation. Mexican law is much stricter. So it's easier the purchase weaponry in Arizona or Texas through a straw buyer and move them two or three at a time across the border in cars. At the border they are invariably waved in with inspection. Now that the drug cartel violence is sipping across the border, state and federal agencies are addressing the question more vigorously. Only the undocumented migrant is often caught in the middle. (See New York Times article.)

The Supreme Court heard arguments on the case of an East Moline, IL, steelwork who was charge with aggravated identity theft to cover his undocumented status. (See posting for Feb. 25, 2009.) The justices seemed to hear the governments argument with skepticism. The steelwork did not know that the counterfeit documentation he used had the Social Security number belonging to someone else. The decision which will come down in June will probably turn on the word "knowingly". (See Los Angeles Times or New York Times article.)

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