Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Perhaps it’s time the talk was about WHY is it MEXICO never does anything for their people but export them to the MEXICAN WELFARE STATE in America?
There are more billionaires in Mexico than Saudi Arabia, or Switzerland. The ruling oligarchy knows that to keep the Mexican economy in their control, they must keep shifting Mexicans over our borders.
Now there are 38 million illegals in the country, and the vast majority are racist, crime prone, literacy hating, anti-Americans that would be much happier back in Mexico.

Death in the desert
It's time the U.S. take steps to keep thousands of migrants from dying attempting to cross into this country.
October 27, 2009
Operation Gatekeeper started in October 1994, focusing federal border security efforts on the five-mile stretch from the Pacific Ocean to San Ysidro. Within three years, the budget of the old Immigration and Naturalization Service -- since split into two agencies -- doubled to $800 million. The number of Border Patrol agents also doubled, along with the miles of fencing. Underground sensors nearly tripled.

In the 15 years since its inception,Gatekeeper, now shorthand for all federal enforcement efforts at the Mexican border, has had a range of consequences, some expected and others grimly surprising. For example, attempted crossings and apprehensions where enforcement is heaviest plummeted, just as officials had hoped. But migrants didn't stay home. Instead, thousands attempted to cross in the dangerous desert lands to the east, in Arizona and Texas -- and as many as 5,600 have died, according to a recent report by the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties and Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights. Illegal immigrants are now 17 times more likely to die while crossing the border than they were in 1998, according to the report.

Anti-illegal-immigrant groups seem unimpressed by these figures. No country can survive, they argue, if it can't control its own borders. The migrants are breaking the law, they say, and those who foolishly risk their lives are to blame for their own actions. But although it's true that personal responsibility plays a role, the fact remains that this is a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions, and it requires immediate action. The report acknowledges that Mexico has failed to adequately discourage migration through the desert, but it lays most of the responsibility on U.S. policies and calls for a redirection of resources from enforcement to rescue.

That's not likely to happen -- particularly not in the post-9/11 environment. Still, there are steps that can be taken. Borstar, the Border Patrol's excellent search-and-rescue program, should get more resources. Both governments, but particularly Mexico's, must do better at educating would-be migrants about the dangers facing them in the desert, where temperatures can reach 115 degrees and dehydration is almost inevitable. Smuggling too is a binational issue, especially in light of the growing cooperation between drug and human smugglers.

The broader changes that need to take place will only happen with time. Mexico must create the economic conditions for prosperity at home so that its citizens will stop risking their lives to leave. In the meantime, the United States must enact reforms that remove death in the desert from the migration equation.


Manuel Ortega, RAPIST
The article below does not indicate if the 15 rapist were ILLEGALS, however even Mexicans born in this country, and many have been as anchors, paid for by LEGALS, they identify with as being MEXICAN, not Americans, and not even Mexican-Americans.
Mexicans are the most VIOLENT and RACIST culture in the hemisphere. Rape and child molestation is simply part of the Mexican way of life.
Police arrest second teen in connection with gang rape on 15-year-old girl
By Karl Fischer and Shelly Meron

Contra Costa Times
Posted: 10/26/2009 10:59:03 AM PDT
Updated: 10/27/2009 08:02:20 AM PDT

Richmond police have arrested a second suspect in connection with the two-hour gang rape of a semiconscious 15-year-old outside her homecoming dance at Richmond High, authorities said Monday night.
Police arrested and booked a 15-year-old student from Richmond High for felony sexual assault and are continuing to actively search for other suspects - both juveniles and adults - through the night, Detective Ken Greco said. The boy's name and grade level were not released.
The suspect was one of two students in custody for questioning early Monday evening, Greco said. Authorities have already arrested 19-year-old Manuel Ortega as he ran from the crime scene, police say.
Authorities said people took photos, laughed and some joined in as the girl was repeatedly assaulted. The victim, a student, remained hospitalized Monday with injuries that were not life-threatening.
"She was raped, beaten, robbed and dehumanized by several suspects who were obviously OK enough with it to behave that way in each other's presence," said Lt. Mark Gagan, a patrol supervisor in the city's Northern Policing District. "What makes it even more disturbing is the presence of others. People came by, saw what was happening, and failed to report it."
Ortega remained at Contra Costa County Jail in Martinez on Monday, booked on suspicion of rape and robbery. Detectives believe as many as six other men raped the girl as she lay semiconscious on a courtyard bench, also beating her, taking pictures and stealing her jewelry.
No one called police until word of the ongoing rape spread to a house party in the city's North and East neighborhood, where an appalled partygoer felt obligated to phone in the rumor.
"That's just wrong," senior class President Gina Saechao, who helped organize the dance, said Monday. "What if it was your little sister? What if it was your mom?"
Officers broke it up, and found the victim semiconscious and obviously hurt. Paramedics flew her to a regional trauma center in critical condition; she stabilized overnight.
This newspaper does not name victims of sexual assault without their consent.
The girl attended the dance, held in the gym from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday. About 400 students attended, with three administrators and four police officers both inside and watching the surrounding parking lot and street.
"Obviously we've had some breakdowns. Obviously, it was not safe because this happened," said Charles Ramsey, a West Contra Costa school district board member. "Should we have had higher awareness, should we have been more vigilant? Probably."
Police say the victim left alone about 9:30 p.m. and walked north on 23rd Street, expecting to catch a ride from her father. Instead, a schoolmate caught her attention from behind a cyclone fence on the north end of campus.
He invited her to join a group drinking and hanging out in a secluded courtyard behind the fence, Gagan said, and escorted her down Emeric Avenue to a short gate from which they made their way back to the group.
The assault began after the girl quickly drank a large amount of hard alcohol and fell over, Gagan said.
Detectives spent the rest of the weekend trying to identify the various participants, some of whom arrived after the gang rape began.
The courtyard is pitch-black at night, making it difficult to see into it from 23rd.
"(Lighting) is an ongoing issue for all our sites," school district spokesman Marin Trujillo said. "That particular section does have lighting. Could it be better? That's something we're always reviewing."
The school district plans to install surveillance cameras by January at the campus, a project long in the works. Plans for new fencing have been in the works since March.
"It's unfortunate that we weren't able to have this finalized a little bit sooner," Ramsey said. "But we've been on top of this issue (safety). Our board is working very proactively to make sure we stay on top of the issue."

By Frosty Wooldridge
Anyone understand why Mexicans fail at a successful civilization? Ever wonder why millions of them invade the United States in search of a better life? Have you noticed that once they arrive, they create the same kind of ‘society’ in the United States ? Unconsciously, they create the same conditions they left behind. You can take the boy out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the boy. For example, in Denver in December, illegal alien Navi dragged his girlfriend to death behind his car. Illegal alien Cruz shot his girlfriend dead in the back because she wouldn’t reconcile with him. Illegal alien Ruizz ran over and killed Justin Goodman, but Ruizz drove away from the scene leaving Goodman to die. In Greeley , Colorado they suffered 270 hit and run accidents in one year. Over 80 percent of hit and run wrecks in Denver involve illegal aliens. Denver boasts the drug smuggling capital of the West as well as the people smuggling mecca of the country. Illegals cheat, distribute drugs, lie, forge documents, steal and kill as if it’s a normal way of life. For them, it is. Mexico ’s civilization stands diametrically opposed to America ’s culture. Both countries manifest different ways of thinking and operating. With George Bush’s push to create the “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America” by dissolving our borders with Mexico , he places all Americans at risk. Would you become friends with neighbors who throw their trash on city streets and parks, create ghettoes wherever they enclave their numbers, promote corruption, deal in violence, encourage drug use, manifest poverty, endorse sexism and downgrade education? America ’s culture and Mexico ’s culture remain diametrically opposed to one another. America ’s fought Mexico and won. Today, Mexico invades America with sheer numbers of poor. However, cultures rarely change and neither do their people. As you can see from the ten points below, everything about Mexico degrades everything about America . For further information, you may visit www.immigrationshumancost.org and www.limitstogrowth.org where you will find a plethora of information by a brilliant journalist Brenda Walker. Her original report may be viewed on www.Vdare.com on January 17, 2007 under the title: “Ten Reasons Why America Should Not Marry Mexico .” I suggest you read more of her work. She exemplifies incisive, sobering and shocking information. These ten point stem directly from Brenda Walker’s work. Let’s examine why America must not entangle itself by merging with Mexico . The legal age of sexual consent in Mexico is 12 years old. Sex with children at this age and younger is socially acceptable in Mexico . For example: A Mexican Lopez-Mendez pleaded guilty to sexual assault on a 10 year old girl in West Virginia . His excuse: sex with young girls was common with his people. He said, “I was unaware that it was a crime.” Mexicans remain the most sexist males next to Islamic men. Both boast the most misogynous cultures in the world. Rape and other violence toward women are not treated as serious crimes. In Mexico , a custom known as “rapto” whereby men kidnap women for sex is regarded as harmless amusement. Mexican society regards women little more than objects. Crime and violence remain mainstays of Mexican culture. Drug cartels and the Mexican army coordinate their massive efforts to promote drug distribution not only in Mexico but into the USA . Mexico City suffers the second highest crime rate in Latin America . Kidnapping remains second only to Columbia for ransom money. Beheadings, killings and gun fire erupt at drug distribution points on the US/Mexican border. Spontaneous hanging continues in Mexico . A mob beat up and burned to death two policemen on live television in 2004 in Mexico City . As Brenda Walker wrote, “Mexicans do not have the same belief as Americans that the law is central to the equitable functioning of a complex nation. It’s the Third World .” Mexicans abhor education. In their country, illiteracy dominates. As they arrive in our country, only 9.6 percent of fourth generation Mexicans earn a high school diploma. Mexico does not promote educational values. This makes them the least educated of any Americans or immigrants. The rate of illiteracy in Mexico stands at 63 percent. Drunk driving remains acceptable in Mexico . As it stands, 44,000 Americans die on our nation’s highways annually. Half that number stems from drunken drivers. U.S. Congressman Steve King reports that 13 American suffer death from drunken driving Mexicans each day. Alcoholism runs rampant in Mexican culture. They suffer the most DUI arrests. Mexicans set the benchmark for animal cruelty. Mexicans love dog fighting, bullfighting, cock fighting and horse tripping. Those blood sports play in every arena and backyard in Mexico . They expand into America as more Mexicans arrive. They also engage in “steer-tailing” where the rider yanks the animal’s tail in an attempt to flip it to the ground. In horse tripping, they run the animals at full gallop around a ring, then, use ropes to trip them at full speed. It’s a death sentence as the horses break their legs, teeth, shoulders and necks—all to the delight of the cheering Mexican fans. As La Raza confirms, Mexicans maintain the most racist society in North America . “For the Hispanic race, everything; for anyone outside the race, nothing!” Guadalupe Loaeza, a journalist, said, “Mexican society is fundamentally racist and classist. The color of your skin is a key that either opens or shuts doors. The lighter your skin, the more doors open to you.” Corruption becomes a mechanism by which Mexico operates. Corruption remains systemic. The Washington Post wrote, “ Mexico is considered one of the most corrupt countries in the hemisphere.” They feature drug cartels, sex slave trade, people smuggling, car theft cartels, real estate scam cartels, murder for money and, you must bribe your mail man to get your mail. Last, but not least, Mexicans are Marxists. They promote a one party government. As with any kind of Marxism, brutal totalitarian rule keeps the rich in power and everyone else subservient. As we allow millions of Mexicans to colonize our country, we can’t help but be caught up in these ten deadly cultural traits of Mexicans. With over 12 million Mexicans here today, the predictions grow to as many as 20 even 40 million Mexicans in a few decades as they come here for a better life.
The fact remains, as they come to America for a better life, they make our lives a living hell. AND THEN WE GET THE BILLS TO PAY FOR ALL OF IT!

http://www.ice.gov/ ICE, ice, ICE

Report Illegals & Employers Toll Free... (866) 347-2423
INS National Customer Service Center Phone: 1-800-375-5283.
You can contact President Obama and let him know of your opposition to amnesty for illegal aliens (HOWEVER OBAMA IS ACTIVELY WORKING ON AMNESTY = ILLEGALS’ VOTES): UNLESS YOU’RE A BANKSTER, OBAMA DOESN’T TAKE CALLS!


“SANCTUARY CITY” a Mexican word for crime wave and Mexican gangs!

LAPD fights crime, not illegals? The problem with this fallacy is that most crimes come from ILLEGALS!

There are only eight states that have a greater population that the County of Los Angeles, which is Mexican occupied. The mayor of Los Angeles is a virulently racist Mexican, and member of La Raza, “The Race”, Antonio “Taco Runt” Villaraigosa.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Villaraigosa Mex province is the “Mexican Gang Capital of America”. There are 500 – 1,000 MEXICAN GANG RELATED MURDERS YEARLY, more than the entire European Union. These Mexican murders cost nearly one million dollars each to prosecute.
WHAT A SO CALLED “SANCTUARY CITY” REALLY IS IS A NO LAWS APPLY TO ILLEGALS state. In Los Angeles, more than 24% of all drivers are illegals with NO LICENSE, NO INSURANCE, and NO REGISTRATION. They put their trucks in the names of a legal nominee to avoid impounding.
Every day there are 12 Americans murdered by illegals, frequently driving illegally and drunk.
“But the non-enforcement of immigration laws in general has an even more destructive effect. In many immigrant communities, assimilation into gangs seems to be outstripping assimilation into civic culture. Toddlers are learning to flash gang signals and hate the police, reports the Los Angeles Times. In New York City, “every high school has its Mexican gang,” and most 12- to 14-year-olds have already joined, claims Ernesto Vega, an illegal 18-year-old Mexican
The LAPD fights crime, not illegal immigration
The outgoing chief of police urges the department to keep focusing on community outreach.
By William J. Bratton
October 27, 2009
On March 12, Juan Garcia, a 53-year-old homeless man, was brutally murdered in an alley off 9th and Alvarado streets in the Westlake District, just west of downtown Los Angeles. At first, the police were stumped; there were no known witnesses and few clues. Then a 43-year-old undocumented immigrant who witnessed the crime came forward and told the homicide detectives from the Rampart station what he saw. Because of his help, a suspect was identified and arrested a few days later while hiding on skid row. Because the witness was not afraid to contact the police, an accused murderer was taken off the streets, and we are all a little bit safer. Stories like this are repeated daily in Los Angeles.

Keeping America's neighborhoods safe requires our police forces to have the trust and help of everyone in our communities. My nearly 40 years in law enforcement, and my experience as police commissioner in Boston and New York City and as chief in Los Angeles, have taught me this.

Yet every day our effectiveness is diminished because immigrants living and working in our communities are afraid to have any contact with the police. A person reporting a crime should never fear being deported, but such fears are real and palpable for many of our immigrant neighbors.

This fear is not unfounded. Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that 11 more locations across the United States have agreed to participate in a controversial law enforcement program known as 287(g). The program gives local law enforcement agencies the powers of federal immigration agents by entering into agreements with Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Although many local agencies have declined to participate in 287(g), 67 state and local law enforcement agencies are working with ICE, acting as immigration agents.

Some in Los Angeles have asked why the LAPD doesn't participate. My officers can't prevent or solve crimes if victims or witnesses are unwilling to talk to us because of the fear of being deported. That basic fact led to the implementation almost 30 years ago of the LAPD's policy on immigrants, which has come to be known as Special Order 40. The order prohibits LAPD officers from initiating contact with someone solely to determine whether they are in the country legally. The philosophy that underlies that policy is simple: Criminals are the biggest benefactors when immigrants fear the police. We can't solve crimes that aren't reported because the victims are afraid to come forward to the police.

The idea of engaging all members of the public in reporting crime and identifying criminals not only helps us with short- and medium-term goals of reducing crime; it helps improve relations with community members. We all have an interest in helping our young people develop into healthy, educated and law-abiding adults. Breeding fear and distrust of authority among some of our children could increase rates of crime, violence and disorder as those children grow up to become fearful and distrustful adolescents and adults. That is why the Los Angeles Police Department has not participated in 287(g) and the federal government is not pressuring the department to do so.

Americans want a solution to our immigration dilemma, as do law enforcement officials across this nation. But the solution isn't turning every local police department into an arm of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Police Foundation published a report in April titled "The Role of Local Police: Striking a Balance Between Immigration Enforcement and Civil Liberties." The report confirms that when local police enforce immigration laws, it undermines their core public safety mission, diverts scarce resources, increases their exposure to liability and litigation, and exacerbates fear in communities that are already distrustful of police.

The report concluded that to optimize public safety, the federal government must enact comprehensive immigration reform. As police chief of one of the most diverse cities in the United States, and possibly the world, I agree. As I leave my position as leader of the LAPD, I will encourage my successor to adopt the same rigid attitude toward keeping Special Order 40 and keeping the mission of the men and women of the department focused on community cooperation instead of community alienation.

Working with victims and witnesses of crimes closes cases faster and protects all of our families by getting criminals off the street. We must pass immigration reform and bring our neighbors out of the shadows so they get the police service they need and deserve. When officers can speak freely with victims and witnesses, it goes a long way toward making every American neighborhood much safer.

William J. Bratton is chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. The Police Foundation's report is available online at http://www.policefoundation.
The Violent Crimes Institute in Atlanta is a real place. They did a real study. These are the real results. 'Based on a one-year in-depth study, Deborah Schurman-Kauflin of the Violent Crimes Institute of Atlanta estimates there are about 240,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders in the United States who have had an average of four victims each. She analyzed 1,500 cases from January 1999 through April 2006 that included serial rapes, serial murders, sexual homicides and child molestation committed by illegal immigrants.'

"The violent MS-13 - or Mara Salvatrucha - street gang is following the migratory routes of illegal aliens across the country, FBI officials say, calling the Salvadoran gang the new American mafia. MS-13, has a significant presence in the Washington area, and other gangs are spreading into small towns and suburbs by following illegal aliens seeking work in places such as Providence, R.I., and the Carolinas, FBI task force director Robert Clifford said.
"The migrant moves and the gang follows," said Mr. Clifford, director of the agency's MS-13 National Gang Task Force."
INS/FBI Statistical Report on Undocumented Immigrants 2006 (First Quarter) INS/FBI Statistical Report on Undocumented Immigrants CRIME STATISTICS
95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.
83% of warrants for murder in Phoenix are for illegal aliens.
86% of warrants for murder in Albuquerque are for illegal aliens.
25% of those on the most wanted list in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Albuquerque are illegal aliens. 24.9% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally
40.1% of all inmates in Arizona detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally
48.2% of all inmates in New Mexico detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally
29% (630,000) convicted illegal alien felons fill our state and federal prisons at a cost of $1.6 billion annually
53% plus of all investigated burglaries reported in California, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Texas are perpetrated by illegal aliens.
50% plus of all gang members in Los Angeles are illegal aliens from south of the border.
71% plus of all apprehended cars stolen in 2005 in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California were stolen by Illegal aliens or “transport coyotes".

47% of cited/stopped drivers in California have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 47%, 92% are illegal aliens.

63% of cited/stopped drivers in Arizona have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 63%, 97% are illegal aliens
66% of cited/stopped drivers in New Mexico have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 66% 98% are illegal aliens.
BIRTH STATISTICS 380,000 plus “anchor babies” were born in the U.S. in 2005 to illegal alien parents, making 380,000 babies automatically U.S. citizens.
97.2% of all costs incurred from those births were paid by the American taxpayers. 66% plus of all births in California are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by taxpayers


Mexico prefers to export its poor, not uplift them

March 30, 2006 edition


Mexico prefers to export its poor, not uplift them
At this week's summit, failed reforms under Fox should be the issue, not US actions.

By George W. Grayson WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

At the parleys this week with his US and Canadian counterparts in Cancún, Mexican President Vicente Fox will press for more opportunities for his countrymen north of the Rio Grande. Specifically, he will argue for additional visas for Mexicans to enter the United States and Canada, the expansion of guest-worker schemes, and the "regularization" of illegal immigrants who reside throughout the continent. In a recent interview with CNN, the Mexican chief executive excoriated as "undemocratic" the extension of a wall on the US-Mexico border and called for the "orderly, safe, and legal" northbound flow of Mexicans, many of whom come from his home state of Guanajuato. Mexican legislators share Mr. Fox's goals. Silvia Hernández Enriquez, head of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for North America, recently emphasized that the solution to the "structural phenomenon" of unlawful migration lies not with "walls or militarization" but with "understanding, cooperation, and joint responsibility." Such rhetoric would be more convincing if Mexican officials were making a good faith effort to uplift the 50 percent of their 106 million people who live in poverty. To his credit, Fox's "Opportunities" initiative has improved slightly the plight of the poorest of the poor. Still, neither he nor Mexico's lawmakers have advanced measures that would spur sustained growth, improve the quality of the workforce, curb unemployment, and obviate the flight of Mexicans abroad. Indeed, Mexico's leaders have turned hypocrisy from an art form into an exact science as they shirk their obligations to fellow citizens, while decrying efforts by the US senators and representatives to crack down on illegal immigration at the border and the workplace. What are some examples of this failure of responsibility? • When oil revenues are excluded, Mexico raises the equivalent of only 9 percent of its gross domestic product in taxes - a figure roughly equivalent to that of Haiti and far below the level of major Latin American nations. Not only is Mexico's collection rate ridiculously low, its fiscal regime is riddled with loopholes and exemptions, giving rise to widespread evasion. Congress has rebuffed efforts to reform the system. Insufficient revenues mean that Mexico spends relatively little on two key elements of social mobility: Education commands just 5.3 percent of its GDP and healthcare only 6.10 percent, according to the World Bank's last comparative study. • A venal, "come-back-tomorrow" bureaucracy explains the 58 days it takes to open a business in Mexico compared with three days in Canada, five days in the US, nine days in Jamaica, and 27 days in Chile. Mexico's private sector estimates that 34 percent of the firms in the country made "extra official" payments to functionaries and legislators in 2004. These bribes totaled $11.2 billion and equaled 12 percent of GDP. • Transparency International, a nongovernmental organization, placed Mexico in a tie with Ghana, Panama, Peru, and Turkey for 65th among 158 countries surveyed for corruption. • Economic competition is constrained by the presence of inefficient, overstaffed state oil and electricity monopolies, as well as a small number of private corporations - closely linked to government big shots - that control telecommunications, television, food processing, transportation, construction, and cement. Politicians who talk about, much less propose, trust-busting measures are as rare as a snowfall in the Sonoran Desert. Geography, self-interests, and humanitarian concerns require North America's neighbors to cooperate on myriad issues, not the least of which is immigration. However, Mexico's power brokers have failed to make the difficult decisions necessary to use their nation's bountiful wealth to benefit the masses. Washington and Ottawa have every right to insist that Mexico's pampered elite act responsibly, rather than expecting US and Canadian taxpayers to shoulder burdens Mexico should assume.

HERITAGE ORG. Unfettered Immigration = Poverty For Americans 2006 AND NOW HOW BAD IS IT?

Unfettered Immigration = Poverty

By. Robert Rector Heritage.org | May 16, 2006

This paper focuses on the net fiscal effects of immigration with particular emphasis on the fiscal effects of low skill immigration. The fiscal effects of immigration are only one aspect of the impact of immigration. Immigration also has social, political, and economic effects. In particular, the economic effects of immigration have been heavily researched with differing results. These economic effects lie beyond the scope of this paper. Overall, immigration is a net fiscal positive to the government’s budget in the long run: the taxes immigrants pay exceed the costs of the services they receive. However, the fiscal impact of immigrants varies strongly according to immigrants’ education level. College-educated immigrants are likely to be strong contributors to the government’s finances, with their taxes exceeding the government’s costs. By contrast, immigrants with low education levels are likely to be a fiscal drain on other taxpayers. This is important because half of all adult illegal immigrants in the U.S. have less than a high school education. In addition, recent immigrants have high levels of out-of-wedlock childbearing, which increases welfare costs and poverty. An immigration plan proposed by Senators Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) would provide amnesty to 9 to 10 million illegal immigrants and put them on a path to citizenship. Once these individuals become citizens, the net additional cost to the federal government of benefits for these individuals will be around $16 billion per year. Further, once an illegal immigrant becomes a citizen, he has the right to bring his parents to live in the U.S. The parents, in turn, may become citizens. The long-term cost of government benefits to the parents of 10 million recipients of amnesty could be $30 billion per year or more. In the long run, the Hagel/Martinez bill, if enacted, would be the largest expansion of the welfare state in 35 years. Current Trends in Immigration Over the last 40 years, immigration into the United States has surged. Our nation is now experiencing a second “great migration” similar to the great waves of immigrants that transformed America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2004, an estimated 35.7 million foreign-born persons lived in the U.S. While in 1970 one person in twenty was foreign born, by 2004 the number had risen to one in eight. About one-third of all foreign-born persons in the U.S. are illegal aliens. There are between 10 and 12 million illegal aliens currently living in the U.S.[1] Illegal aliens now comprise 3 to 4 percent of the total U.S. population. Each year approximately 1.3 million new immigrants enter the U.S.[2] Some 700,000 of these entrants are illegal.[3] One third of all foreign-born persons in the U.S. are Mexican. Overall, the number of Mexicans in the U.S. has increased from 760,000 in 1970 to 10.6 million in 2004. Nine percent of all Mexicans now reside in the U.S.[4] Over half of all Mexicans in the U.S. are illegal immigrants,[5] and in the last decade 80 to 85 percent of the inflow of Mexicans into the U.S. has been illegal.[6] The public generally perceives illegals to be unattached single men. This is, in fact, not the case. Some 44 percent of adult illegals are women. While illegal men work slightly more than native-born men; illegal women work less. Among female illegals, some 56 percent work, compared to 73 percent among native-born women of comparable age.[7] As well, Mexican women emigrating to the U.S. have a considerably higher fertility rate than women remaining in Mexico.[8] Decline in Immigrant Wages Over the last 40 years the education level of new immigrants has fallen relative to the native population. As the relative education levels of immigrants have declined, so has their earning capacity compared to the general U.S. population. Immigrants arriving in the U.S. around 1960 had wages, at the time of entry, that were just 13 percent less than natives’. In 1965, the nation’s immigration law was dramatically changed, and from 1990 on, illegal immigration surged. The result was a decline in the relative skill levels of new immigrants. By 1998, new immigrants had an average entry wage that was 34 percent less than natives.’[12] Because of their lower education levels, illegal immigrants’ wages would have been even lower. The low-wage status of recent illegal immigrants can be illustrated by the wages of recent immigrants from Mexico, a majority of whom have entered the U.S. illegally. In 2000, the median weekly wage of a first-generation Mexican immigrant was $323. This was 54 percent of the corresponding wage for non-Hispanic whites in the general population.[13] Historically, the relative wages of recent immigrants have risen after entry as immigrants gained experience in the labor market. For example, immigrants who arrived in the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s saw their relative wages rise by 10 percentage points compared to natives’ wages during their first 20 years in the country. But in recent years, this modest catch up effect has diminished. Immigrants who arrived in the late 1980s actually saw their relative wages shrink in the 1990s.[14] Immigration and Welfare Dependence Welfare may be defined as means-tested aid programs: these programs provide cash, non-cash, and social service assistance that is limited to low-income households. The major means-tested programs include Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, public housing, the earned income credit, and Medicaid. Historically, recent immigrants were less likely to receive welfare than native-born Americans. But over the last thirty years, this historic pattern has reversed. As the relative education levels of immigrants fell, their tendency to receive welfare benefits increased. By the late 1990s immigrant households were fifty percent more likely to receive means-tested aid than native-born households.[15] Moreover, immigrants appear to assimilate into welfare use. The longer immigrants live in the U.S., the more likely they are to use welfare.[16] A large part, but not all, of immigrants’ higher welfare use is explained by their low education levels. Welfare use also varies by immigrants’ national origin. For example, in the late 1990s, 5.6 percent of immigrants from India received means-tested benefits; among Mexican immigrants the figure was 34.1 percent; and for immigrants from the Dominican Republic the figure was 54.9 percent.[17] Ethnic differences in the propensity to receive welfare that appear among first-generation immigrants persist strongly in the second generation.[18] The relatively high use of welfare among Mexicans has significant implications for current proposals to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. Some 80 percent of illegal immigrants come from Mexico and Latin America.[19] (See Chart 1) Historically, Hispanics in America have had very high levels of welfare use. Chart 2 shows receipt of aid from major welfare programs by different ethnic groups in 1999; the programs covered are Medicaid, Food Stamps, public housing, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, General Assistance, and Supplemental Security Income.[20] As the chart shows, Hispanics were almost three times more likely to receive welfare than non-Hispanic whites. In addition, among families that received aid, the cost of the aid received was 40 percent higher for Hispanics than for non-Hispanic whites.[21] Putting together the greater probability of receiving welfare with the greater cost of welfare per family means that, on average, Hispanic families received four times more welfare per family than white non-Hispanics. 1. Part, but not all, of this high level of welfare use by Hispanics can be explained by background factors such as family structure.[22] It seems likely that, if Hispanic illegal immigrants are given permanent residence and citizenship, they and their children will likely assimilate into the culture of high welfare use that characterizes Hispanics in the U.S. This would impose significant costs on taxpayers and society as a whole. Welfare use can also be measured by immigration status. In general, immigrant households are about fifty percent more likely to use welfare than native-born households.[23] Immigrants with less education are more likely to use welfare. (See Chart 3) 1. The potential welfare costs of low-skill immigration and amnesty for current illegal immigrants can be assessed by looking at the welfare utilization rates for current low-skill immigrants. As Chart 4 shows, immigrants without a high school degree (both lawful and unlawful) are two-and-a-half times more likely to use welfare than native-born individuals.[24] This underscores the high potential welfare costs of giving amnesty to illegal immigrants. 1. All categories of high school dropouts have a high utilization of welfare. Immigrants who have less than a high school degree are slightly more likely to use welfare than native-born dropouts. Legal immigrants who are high school dropouts are slightly more likely to use welfare than native-born dropouts.[25] Illegal immigrant dropouts, however, are less likely to use welfare than native-born dropouts mainly because they are ineligible for many welfare programs. With amnesty, current illegal immigrants’ welfare use would likely rise to the level of lawful immigrants with similar education levels. Illegal Immigration and Poverty 1. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 4.7 million children of illegal immigrant parents currently live in the U.S.[26] Some 37 percent of these children are poor.[27] While children of illegal immigrant parents comprise around 6 percent of all children in the U.S., they are 11.8 percent of all poor children.[28] This high level of child poverty among illegal immigrants in the U.S. is, in part, due to low education levels and low wages. It is also linked to the decline in marriage among Hispanics in the U.S. Within this group, 45 percent of children are born out-of-wedlock.[29] (See Table 1.) Among foreign-born Hispanics the rate is 42.3 percent.[30] By contrast, the out-of-wedlock birth rate for non-Hispanic whites is 23.4 percent.[31] The birth rate for Hispanic teens is higher than for black teens.[32] While the out-of-wedlock birth rate for blacks has remained flat for the last decade, it has risen steadily for Hispanics.[33] These figures are important because, as noted, some 80 percent of illegal aliens come from Mexico and Latin America.[34] In general, children born and raised outside of marriage are seven times more likely to live in poverty than children born and raised by married couples. Children born out-of-wedlock are also more likely to be on welfare, to have lower educational achievement, to have emotional problems, to abuse drugs and alcohol, and to become involved in crime.[35] 5. Poverty is also more common among adult illegal immigrants, who are twice as likely to be poor as are native-born adults. Some 27 percent of all adult illegal immigrants are poor, compared to 13 percent of native-born adults.[36] Economic and Social Assimilation of Illegal Immigrant Offspring One important question is the future economic status of the children and grandchildren of current illegal immigrants, assuming those offspring remain in the U.S. While we obviously do not have data on future economic status, we may obtain a strong indication of future outcomes by examining the educational attainment of offspring of recent Mexican immigrants. Some 57 percent of current illegal immigrants come from Mexico, and about half of Mexicans currently in the U.S. are here illegally.[37] First-generation Mexican immigrants are individuals born in Mexico who have entered the U.S. In 2000, some 70 percent of first-generation Mexican immigrants (both legal and illegal) lacked a high school degree. Second-generation Mexicans may be defined as individuals born in the U.S. who have at least one parent born in Mexico. Second-generation Mexican immigrants (individuals born in the U.S. who have at least one parent born in Mexico) have greatly improved educational outcomes but still fall well short of the general U.S. population. Some 25 percent of second-generation Mexicans in the U.S. fail to complete high school. By contrast, the high school drop out rate is 8.6 percent among non-Hispanic whites and 17.2 percent among blacks. Critically, the educational attainment of third-generation Mexicans (those of Mexican ancestry with both parents born in the U.S.) improves little relative to the second generation. Some 21 percent of third-generation Mexicans are high school drop outs.[38] Similarly, the rate of college attendance among second-generation Mexicans is lower than for black Americans and about two-thirds of the level for non-Hispanic whites; moreover, college attendance does not improve in the third generation.[39] These data indicate that the offspring of illegal Hispanic immigrants are likely to have lower rates of educational attainment and higher rates of school failure compared to the non-Hispanic U.S. population. High rates of school failure coupled with high rates of out-of-wedlock childbearing are strong predictors of future poverty and welfare dependence. Immigration and Crime Historically, immigrant populations have had lower crime rates than native-born populations. For example, in 1991, the overall crime and incarceration rate for non-citizens was slightly lower than for citizens.[40] On the other hand, the crime rate among Hispanics in the U.S. is high. Age-specific incarceration rates (prisoners per 100,000 residents in the same age group in the general population) among Hispanics in federal and state prisons are two to two-and-a-half times higher than among non-Hispanic whites.[41] Relatively little of this difference appears to be due to immigration violations.[42] Illegal immigrants are overwhelmingly Hispanic. It is possible that, over time, Hispanic immigrants and their children may assimilate the higher crime rates that characterize the low-income Hispanic population in the U.S. as a whole.[43] If this were to occur, then policies that would give illegal immigrants permanent residence through amnesty, as well as policies which would permit a continuing influx of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants each year, would increase crime in the long term. The Fiscal Impact of Immigration One important question is the fiscal impact of immigration (both legal and illegal). Policymakers must ensure that the interaction of welfare and immigration policy does not expand the welfare-dependent popula_?tion, which would hinder rather than help immi_?grants and impose large costs on American society. This means that immigrants should be net contributors to government: the taxes they pay should exceed the cost of the benefits they receive. In calculating the fiscal impact of an individual or family, it is necessary to distinguish between public goods and private goods. Public goods do not require additional spending to accommodate new residents.[44] The clearest examples of government public goods are national defense and medical and scientific research. The entry of millions of immigrants will not raise costs or diminish the value of these public goods to the general population. Other government services are private goods; use of these by one person precludes or limits use by another. Government private goods include direct personal benefits such as welfare, Social Security benefits, Medicare, and education. Other government private goods are “congestible” goods.[45] These are services that must be expanded in proportion to the population. Government congestible goods include police and fire protection, roads and sewers, parks, libraries, and courts. If these services do not expand as the population expands, there will be a decrease in the quality of service. An individual makes a positive fiscal contribution when his total taxes paid exceed the direct benefits and congestible goods received by himself and his family.[46] The Fiscal Impact of Low Skill Immigration The 1997 New Americans study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) examined the fiscal impact of immigration.[47] It found that, within in a single year, the fiscal impact of foreign-born households was negative in the two states studied, New Jersey and California.[48] Measured over the course of a lifetime, the fiscal impact of first-generation immigrants nationwide was also slightly negative.[49] However, when the future earnings and taxes paid by the offspring of the immigrant were counted, the long-term fiscal impact was positive. One commonly cited figure from the report is that the net present value (NPV) of the fiscal impact of the average recent immigrant and his descendents is $83,000.[50] There are five important caveats about the NAS longitudinal study and its conclusion that in the long term the fiscal impact of immigration is positive. First, the study applies to all recent immigration, not just illegal immigration. Second, the finding that the long-term fiscal impact of immigration is positive applies to the population of immigrants as a whole, not to low-skill immigrants alone. Third, the $83,000 figure is based on the predicted earnings, tax payments, and benefits of an immigrant’s descendents over the next 300 years.[51] Fourth, the study does not take into account the growth in out-of-wedlock childbearing among the foreign-born population, which will increase future welfare costs and limit the upward mobility of future generations. Fifth, the assumed educational attainment of the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of immigrants who are high school dropouts or high school graduates seems unreasonably high given the actual attainment of the offspring of recent Mexican and Hispanic immigrants.[52] The NAS study’s 300-year time horizon is highly problematic. Three hundred years ago, the United States did not even exist and British colonists had barely reached the Appalachian Mountains. We cannot reasonably estimate what taxes and benefits will be even 30 years from now, let alone 300. The NAS study assumes that most people’s descendents will eventually regress to the social and economic mean, and thus may make a positive fiscal contribution, if the time horizon is long enough. With similar methods, it seems likely that out-of-wedlock childbearing could be found to have a net positive fiscal value as long as assumed future earnings are projected out 500 or 600 years. Slight variations to NAS’s assumptions used by NAS greatly affect the projected outcomes. For example, limiting the time horizon to 50 years and raising the assumed interest rate from 3 percent to 4 percent drops the NPV of the average immigrant from around $80,000 to $8,000.[53] Critically, the NAS projections assumed very large tax increases and benefits cuts would begin in 2016 to prevent the federal deficit from rising further relative to GDP. This assumption makes it far easier for future generations to be scored as fiscal contributors. If these large tax hikes and benefit cuts do not occur, then the long-term positive fiscal value of immigration evaporates.[54] Moreover, if future tax hikes and benefit cuts do occur, the exact nature of those changes would likely have a large impact on the findings; this issue is not explored in the NAS study. Critically, the estimated net fiscal impact of the whole immigrant population has little bearing on the fiscal impact of illegal immigrants, who are primarily low-skilled. As noted, at least 50 percent of illegal immigrants do not have a high school degree. As the NAS report states, “[S]ome groups of immigrants bring net fiscal benefits to natives and others impose net fiscal costs [I]mmigrants with certain characteristics, such as the elderly and those with little education, may be quite costly.”[55] The NAS report shows that the long-term fiscal impact of immigrants varies dramatically according to the education level of the immigrant. The fiscal impact of immigrants with some college education is positive. The fiscal impact of immigrants with a high school degree varies according to the time horizon used. The fiscal impact of immigrants without a high school degree is negative: benefits received will exceed taxes paid. The net present value of the future fiscal impact of immigrants without a high school degree is negative even when the assumed earnings and taxes of descendents over the next 300 years are included in the calculation.[56] A final point is that the NAS study’s estimates assume that low skill immigration does not reduce the wages of native-born low-skill workers. If low-skill immigration does, in fact, reduce the wages of native-born labor, this would reduce taxes paid and increase welfare expenditures for that group. The fiscal, social, and political implications could be quite large. The Cost of Amnesty Federal and state governments currently spend over $500 billion per year on means-tested welfare benefits.[57] Illegal aliens are ineligible for most federal welfare benefits but can receive some assistance through programs such as Medicaid, In addition, native-born children of illegal immigrant parents are citizens and are eligible for all relevant federal welfare benefits. Granting amnesty to illegal aliens would have two opposing fiscal effects. On the one hand, it may raise wages and taxes paid by broadening the labor market individuals compete in; it would also increase tax compliance and tax receipts as more work would be performed “on the books,”[58] On the other hand, amnesty would greatly increase the receipt of welfare, government benefits, and social services. Because illegal immigrant households tend to be low-skill and low-wage, the cost to government could be considerable. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has performed a thorough study of the federal fiscal impacts of amnesty.[59] This study found that illegal immigrant households have low education levels and low wages and currently pay little in taxes. Illegal immigrant households also receive lower levels of federal government benefits. Nonetheless, the study also found that, on average, illegal immigrant families received more in federal benefits than they paid in taxes.[60] Granting amnesty would render illegal immigrants eligible for federal benefit programs. The CIS study estimated the additional taxes that would be paid and the additional government costs that would occur as a result of amnesty. It assumed that welfare utilization and tax payment among current illegal immigrants would rise to equal the levels among legally-admitted immigrants of similar national, educational, and demographic backgrounds. If all illegal immigrants were granted amnesty, federal tax payments would increase by some $3,000 per household, but federal benefits and social services would increase by $8,000 per household. Total federal welfare benefits would reach around $9,500 per household, or $35 billion per year total. The study estimates that the net cost to the federal government of granting amnesty to some 3.8 million illegal alien households would be around $5,000 per household, for a total federal fiscal cost of $19 billion per year.[61] preference for entry visas. The current visa allotments for family members (other than spouses and minor children) should be eliminated, and quotas for employment- and skill-based entry increased proportionately.


L.A.County's $48 Million Monthly Anchor Baby Tab
Last Updated: Wed, 08/12/2009 - 11:24am
Taxpayers in the nation’s most populous county dished out nearly $50 million in a single month to cover only the welfare costs of illegal immigrants, representing a whopping $10 million increase over the same one-month period two years ago.
In June 2009 alone Los Angeles County spent $48 million ($26 million in food stamps and $22 million in welfare) to provide just two of numerous free public services to the children of illegal aliens, which will translate into an annual tab of nearly $600 million for the cash-strapped county.
The figure doesn’t even include the exorbitant cost of educating, medically treating or incarcerating illegal aliens in the sprawling county of about 10 million residents. Los Angeles County annually spends more than $1 billion for those combined services, including $400 million for healthcare and $350 million for public safety.
The recent single-month welfare figure was obtained from the county’s Department of Social Services and made public by a county supervisor (Michael Antonovich) who assures illegal immigration continues to have a “catastrophic impact on Los Angeles County taxpayers.” The veteran lawmaker points out that 24% of the county’s total allotment of welfare and food stamp benefits goes directly to the children of illegal aliens—known as anchor babies—born in the United States.
A former fifth-grade history teacher who has served on the county’s board for nearly three decades, Antonovich has repeatedly come under fire for publicizing statistics that confirm the devastation illegal immigration has had on the region. Antonovich represents a portion of the county that is roughly twice the size of Rhode Island and has about 2 million residents.
Numerous other reports have documented the enormous cost of illegal immigration on a national level. Just last year a renowned economist, who has thoroughly researched the impact of illegal immigration, published a book breaking down the country’s $346 billion annual cost to educate, jail, medically treat and incarcerate illegal aliens throughout the U.S.

August 11, 2009—Figures from the Department of Public Social Services show that children of illegal aliens in Los Angeles County collected nearly $22 million in welfare and over $26 million in food stamps in June, announced Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. Projected over a 12 month period – this would exceed $575 million dollars.

Annually the cost of illegal immigration to Los Angeles County taxpayers exceeds over $1 billion dollars, which includes $350 million for public safety, $400 million for healthcare, and $500 million in welfare and food stamps allocations. Twenty-four percent of the County’s total allotment of welfare and food stamp benefits goes directly to the children of illegal aliens born in the United States.

“Illegal immigration continues to have a catastrophic impact on Los Angeles County taxpayers,” said Antonovich. “The total cost for illegal immigrants to County taxpayers exceeds $1 billion a year – not including the millions of dollars for education.”


In drug trafficking hub, artist is in demand
Between mansions for the living and mausoleums for the dead, there is work to be had in the Sinaloa capital for painter and sculptor Jose Espinoza, who says of his patrons: 'I don't probe.'
By Tracy Wilkinson

October 24, 2009

Reporting from Culiacan, Mexico

With a gilded, 4-foot statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe tucked under his arm, Jose Espinoza clambers up the Italian-marble staircase, past the Jacuzzis and gigantic Corinthian columns, to a domed chapel inside the ornate mansion of a particularly successful Sinaloa "farmer."

Espinoza installs the Virgin in her niche on an elaborate cedar altarpiece that he carved by hand, a la early Baroque. Around her dance rosy-cheeked, feather-winged angels that Espinoza has painted on the walls and ceilings, an enveloping palette of pale blue skies and cottony clouds. Jesus Christ and God the Father are there too.

The multimillion-dollar mansion is one of many in this strangely wealthy city that Espinoza has been hired to adorn in recent years. Given Sinaloa's well-earned reputation as the cradle of Mexican narcotics trafficking, it is little wonder who is footing the bills.

"I don't probe," says Espinoza, 51, a broad-shouldered man with a helmet of silver hair, bushy black eyebrows and a hearty laugh.

Espinoza is known as one of the region's finest artists. He might also be called home decorator to the narcos.

In his case, though, it's not curtains or carpeting he's supplying but room-length murals, gold-leafed ceilings and Grecian cornices. His work provides a peek into the lifestyles of the rich and criminal.

Their death-styles too.

Here in the Sinaloan capital of Culiacan, Espinoza also specializes in painting religious imagery on the opulent mausoleums that serve as the final resting places for hundreds of traffickers slain in Mexico's raging war on drug cartels.

The architectural excesses, in the fast-growing cemeteries and in the mansions that have popped up on the slopes of this hilly city, might not be surprising in Bel-Air or the Hamptons. But Sinaloa is -- judged by its official economy -- one of the poorest states in a poor country.

Most of the real money in Sinaloa, of course, is in the vast illegal network that has been producing and shipping marijuana and heroin to the U.S., and taking in billions of dollars in profit, for generations.

In one mansion where Espinoza works, the vaulted doorway is big enough to drive a Brink's truck through. A row of caryatids (columns formed entirely by the sculpted body of a woman) flanks one side.

Another manse is so tall the owner demanded (after construction was almost complete) that an elevator be installed. Once that place is finished, water will spout into the pool through the mouths of chiseled stone tigers.

In another home, you can lie in the Jacuzzi and observe Espinoza's depiction of the Birth of Venus gracing the domed ceiling.

"It's very contemplative," he says wistfully. "Some of the houses are so big, you lose perspective."

Local wags sometimes call the style "narc-itecture."

Carrara marble in earth tones coats children's bathrooms; one walk-in closet the size of an auditorium has a crystal central island of drawers for easy spotting of jewels and other accessories. Once, Espinoza spent a year installing pure ebony railings and fixtures in a hillside residence that vaguely resembles the Pantheon.

In a sprawling hacienda, Espinoza painted room after room with portraits of Spanish flamenco dancers, their lacy red-and-black costumes soaring 20 feet toward the ceiling. The owner's wife was a fan of flamenco. Joke on them: The dancers' faces are his nieces'.

But these aren't clients you can really joke with. You never dispute a payment or make excuses for missed deadlines or say something like, "But you didn't ask for hand-woven Sardinian lace."

Actually, they tend to be longer on the money and shorter on the taste it would require to know anything about Sardinian lace. Still, it's a delicate business. You don't challenge, you don't question, you brace yourself for the demands and complaints, especially from the narcos' wives, who can be shrilly exacting.

The owner of one house roared up in his silver pickup, tires so oversized that the vehicle towers over others on the road. In a red baseball cap and sparkling gold Rolex, and with the Nextel cellphone favored by many here because it's hard to tap, he spoke at length about the shrimp business that he said had made him rich. A high school dropout who grew up on a farm, he had both swagger and the accent of the countryside. He sought to explain his idea for the mansion going up around him.

"I like something between the Classics and Louis XVI," he drawled. "But I've traveled a lot and like what I see in hotels, and so we are trying to do that here."

Espinoza's fame circulates by word of mouth, aided by loose-leaf portfolios with photographs. He doesn't even own a computer.

He says he doesn't ask too many questions of the steady stream of people who contract for his services. That's sort of a motto of self-preservation for many here in Sinaloa. What might be seen as collusion or complicity is a fact of life. Residents tolerate their drug-trafficking neighbors, or do legitimate business with people otherwise known as gangsters, out of fear or resignation. The phenomenon is true in many parts of Mexico but nowhere more than Sinaloa because the drug trade is so enmeshed in the state's history and culture -- celebrated in song, honored at festivals, yearned for by young men and women seeking thrills.

"People here are born with it, they grew up and developed with it, they see it as normal," Espinoza says. "If you try to tell them something different, they don't understand."

A descendant of Spanish soldiers who populated Sinaloa in colonial times, Espinoza started painting and sculpting figurines as a child. His father, a tomato farmer, and his mother, a seamstress, doted on him, using the little money they had to buy precious art books and fine brushes and easels. He sold his first painting at age 9.

Espinoza says he was always a devout Roman Catholic, schooled by Franciscans and the ultra-conservative Opus Dei, and so icons and religious images were a natural subject for his artistry. Church officials commissioned him to paint the murals lavished on the walls of the Santa Ines and Espiritu Santo churches of Culiacan. He was even commissioned to paint St. Jerome for the pope, he says.

If he sees a contradiction in working for the church and working for traffickers, he doesn't mention it. There is no client he will refuse, he says.

"It is not up to me to judge anybody," he says. "I do not agree with drug trafficking. I have never taken drugs. I have helped pay for rehab for friends. . . . But I don't judge anybody."

And yet, there is a contradiction, or so it would seem, between the deliberate beauty of art and the harsh, bloody ugliness of a violent business like the running of drugs.

Whatever the moral and mental gymnastics, Espinoza is meticulous in his work. For the dome of one mansion, he sketches the figures he plans to paint on translucent tracing paper, then re-creates the outlines on the ceiling, climbing over the roof and down a narrow ladder to makeshift scaffolding that suspends him in the air.

At the Culiacan cemetery, mausoleums are so elaborate they can rise two stories and feature central air conditioning. Relatives keep them supplied steadily with bottles of tequila, cans of Tecate beer and Snickers bars. They are adorned with party balloons, flowers, crucifixes and toys representing some of the departed's favorite guns and trucks. Many were young men in their late teens and early 20s who died violently and can be seen in pictures posted at the crypts cradling automatic rifles. Their families visit regularly, to toast and remember.

Espinoza was hired to decorate his first mausoleum nearly 20 years ago. It was erected for a woman caught between a trafficker husband and a trafficker lover. She and her two young children were slain in a gruesome rivalry between the men. A portrait of the smiling mother and children floats on the ceiling "as if going off to heaven," Espinoza says.

He rationalizes this work, saying he paints for the survivors, for bereaved families who may not have been involved in the dirty dealings of the deceased. "It helps them in their communion with God. It helps them in their grief."

Given his clientele, it is no surprise that the Mexican army has raided Espinoza's studios. But they went away empty-handed.

"I am an artist," Espinoza says.

"People don't go to museums anymore, no one has time for contemplation. So at least, as they lie in their Jacuzzis, or climb their staircases, they can contemplate a beautiful work of art."