Thursday, December 17, 2009

JOBS? No American Need Apply! THE OBAMA JOBS PLAN


Why should we accept all the trash from other countries? (How many jails can we build? )

Date: 2009-12-01, 10:57AM PST
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]


Jeanette Marchese
I am totally against illegal immigration. I don't know how anyone in this country can condone any illegal activity. Shouldn't we concentrate on the legal, homegrown and born citizens? We should be doing better. This socialist administration will kill us and any incentive.. Why should we accept all the trash from other countries? Don't our homegrown problems count? We don't need additional ones. How many jails can we build? Too bad if these people are not doing well in their countries, but legals built this one and they should be the only ones that count.

Today, 8:57:58 AM–
– Moderate tech worker unemployed
President Obama will have a jobs' summit this Thursday. I hope during the summit someone raises the question of why our country is still allowing over 1 million foreign workers each year in THIS STATE of our economy. In 2008 alone, over 900,000 foreigners came in on 14 different visa programs, in addition to 300,000 to 400,000 green cards. This is insane, especially in this jobs economy. Foreign workers should be sent back to their own country, and jobs freed up for American citizens.
Yesterday, 10:43:32 PM–
Moderate JohnS -Iowa
Does everyone remember the 2004 documentary, “A Day Without a Mexican”? I would like to see someone organize a national “A Week Without a Responsible, Employed, Conservative.”

The average working person in this country seems to have only one purpose as far as our government is concerned, and that is to pay the bill for all the people who won’t work. Or, like illegal aliens, who take more out of the system in terms of welfare, medical care, food stamps, and etc. than they put in.

So what if a few million of us decide to take a week off work without pay? The federal government and our state governments lose our payroll taxes for that week. If we are not driving back and forth to work we won’t need to buy as much gas that week (which is heavily taxed).

This may be a way to get the attention of what we all laughingly refer to as our “representatives.” If we, the people, demonstrate to these little tin dictators that we control the purse strings, maybe they will finally represent our interests.

Please let me know if you think this idea might work. I’m interested in all comments.
Yesterday, 8:19:53 PM– Moderate Angie

How about doing what is best for Americans. Is Gutierrez American? He surely does not act like one.
Yesterday, 3:14:39 PM– – Moderate Deke

Gutierrez is a tool for La Raza and other illegal lovin groups. He is an embarrassment to Illinois and I sure hope he is voted out next term. He does not represent Americans, only illegals and what he can get for them. Immigration reform is going to create an explosion on anger in America. They should just enforce the laws we already have and deport those who are here illegally.
Yesterday, 12:59:17 PM– – ModerateLiked byJohnS -IowaGuest Rob
We have to contact Mitch McConnell. He will oppose any illegal alien amnesty, & health care reform legislation that makes us responsible for these 10 member, job stealing families. I write him frequently, he understands that illegals will never play by the rules. Also remind him that 70% of Hispanic voters went Democratic in the last election. They look at White America as the only obstacle to them taking over the good old USA. OBAMA LOVES ILLEGALS AND THEIR DEPENDENCY ON SOCIAL PROGRAMS, AND THEIR LARGE VOTING BLOCK. If somehow the Dems win in 2010, it's over. PLEASE TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW WE MUST CONTACT OUR LEGISLATORS, AND VOTE REPUBLICAN.

2 days ago, 3:14:57 PM– – Moderate Bobby
It seems Americans are in general, so helpless against even corrosive economy destroying things like illegal immigration, that we have to rely on massive unemployment as a hope in stopping it. Talk about an oxymoronic situation.

4 days ago, 1:09:04 PM– – ModerateLiked byGuest Guest
It shouldn't even be an issue of high or low unemployment. Unlike budget deficits or debt which can be dealt with on a temporary basis by (gulp), tax increases and/or budget cuts, granting amnesty and a promise of citizenship creates a permanency.

New residents need to be cared for like families who have lived in the U.S. for generations in the event of an economic downturn. In areas where there are seasonal laborers, unemployment has reached to over 30 percent. No, there can't be an ABSOLUTE guarantee that new immigrants won't give or take more, from/to the system. However, common sense and indicators should tell someone that you don't take on extra mouths to feed, especially when the family(country) is struggling itself.

We've( U.S.) tried amnesty in the past, and it has been shown to only lead to higher immigration levels. What is it that they say about repeating the mistakes of the past and expecting a different result? Same applies here.

There won't be a cessation of "IL"legal immigration and all the euphemistic talk about "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" is once again, kicking the can down the road and eliminating any 'illegality' by making everyone legal. The open-borders lobby will say " Look, they're all citizens or in the pipeline, so stop calling them "illegal". All they've done to deal with the problem is to reset the counter to zero as to make it appear that there are no-more "undocumented".

Nice how that would work out and 'solving' the problem. Makes 'enforcement' a lot easier, since there would be a much-much smaller number of those here illegally.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009, 10:05:41 AM– – ModerateLiked byGuest Allan S.
Both unemployment and run-away health care cost are closely linked to the recent illegal immigration impact. If we want to hold off socialism, and rebuild the economy we must humanely remove all recent immigrants(say those here less than ten years) Grant special " American Legal Mexican" status to those here longer, where they only vote in the national Mexican federal elections, and can only become U/S. citizens after a further 5 year "probation" wait, while working.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009, 8:48:09 AM– – Moderate documented worker USA
Immigration Counters estimate -- over 22 million illegal aliens in our country. I think the point is right is right-- wrong is wrong. Our immigration laws were created in D.C. by politicians and if these laws were good enough to pass by Congressional vote and a Presidents signature-- then they are good enough to be enforced. Where is our double layered fence? It's illegal to hire a illegal-- why are they working? It is a FELONY for a deported illegal to re-enter our country-- yet they return 9,12,18 times and are still free to walk our streets!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009, 7:29:51 – ModerateLiked byGuest legal citizen
Americans have to be very adequate in 2010 election when they chose their representatives,vote only for who put the Americans and the American interests in the first place.

Monday, November 23, 2009, 10:32:45 PM– – ModerateLiked byGuest Guest
very tough, take a look at the millions of your citizens, that is your american citizens that are out of jobs, lost homes, cars, just making it. after all government don't support them with free medical, housing, food, now do they.

Monday, November 23, 2009, 6:05:50 PM– – Moderate Motivated
I hate to use cliches, but no matter how much lipstick you put on a pig...well, you know the rest.

Monday, November 23, 2009, 1:48:36 PM– – Moderate Guest

Monday, November 23, 2009, 11:39:32 AM– Moderate Motivated
No one believes Gutierrez's hollow talking points, as we know he wants to amnesty 12-20 plus illegal aliens. No matter what type of spin he and his amnesty-buddy Jeff Flake puts on his amnesty bill -- we all know it wiil just be a mass amnesty scheme -- that Americans reject!

Monday, November 23, 2009, 11:05:22 AM– – Moderate Softwarengineer
And the 10+% Excludes Giveups, Unemployed College Graduates and Severely Underemployed

It is beyond comprehension that the Ebenezor Scrooges hiring slaves for votes would ignore the Unemployed Tiny Tim right now.
Monday, November 23, 2009, 10:57:55 AM– Flag – Like – Reply

Location: How many jails can we build?
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests


Progressives for Immigration Reform (Salinas)

Date: 2009-12-13, 11:03PM PST
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

With California unemployment at record highs, does it make any sense to import over 125,000 new foreign workers every month? Of course not! Join Progressives for Immigration Reform to organize to block two disasters for California: high levels of immigration and amnesty. Join us for our monthly meeting this Wednesday, December 16th, at 7:00 pm in Salinas. Call Bill at (831) 754-3697 to RSVP.

Location: Salinas
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

THE OBAMA PLAN: Expand the Mexican Welfare State AS Corporate Welfare For "CHEAP" Labor


Date: 2009-12-10, 9:24AM PST
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]



Help FAIR Ensure That Illegal Aliens

Won't Be Able to Access Taxpayer-Funded Benefits!

The Senate is currently considering the health care reform bill (H.R. 3590). As FAIR's Legislative Analysis concludes:

The Senate bill contains a loophole to allow illegal aliens to access taxpayer-funded health care benefits;

The Senate bill fails to effectively prevent illegal aliens from accessing the taxpayer-subsidized "exchange" marketplace; and

In a radical departure from current law, the Senate bill circumvents long-standing policies that would require legal immigrants to wait five years before accessing federal health care benefits.

As a result, the Senate health care bill promotes poor immigration policy and fails to protect the interests of the American taxpayers.

In addition, the Senate bill raises a new issue. Under the bill, low-income American citizens – those with income below 100% of federal poverty (FPL) – have only one option for their health insurance: Medicaid. At the same time, the bill gives similarly-situated legal aliens more health care choices than the American citizen. Legal aliens can receive the taxpayer-subsidy to choose whatever health insurance they want. This is fundamentally unfair. It treats immigrants better than American citizens.

But despite these issues, the Senate has not debated these provisions on the Senate floor. Fortunately, these problems and inequities can still be fixed.

FAIR has been working with two true immigration reformers in the Senate who intend to offer amendments to fix these problems.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) will file an amendment that would:

Require the use of a meaningful and effective verification system to ensure that illegal aliens will not be able to access taxpayer-funded tax subsidies created by the bill;

Prevent illegal aliens from accessing the taxpayer-funded exchange to buy insurance; and

Maintain the 5-year waiting period in current law so that immigrants must pay into the system before they are able to receive taxpayer-funded health benefits. The 5-year waiting period is critical because it embodies the principle that immigrants should not become a public charge – or burden – to the American people.

In addition, Senator John Ensign (R-NV) has filed an amendment (Amdt. No. 3016) to ensure that American citizens would have the same choices for their health care as the bill gives legal immigrants. This will guarantee citizens are not treated unfairly.

These Senators need our help to ensure that:

Senate leadership will allow debate on these critical amendments; and

That each of these critical amendments will get a vote on the Senate floor.

FAIR needs your help! Please call the following members of Senate leadership:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) 202-224-2158
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) 202-224-9447
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 202-224-3135
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) 202-224-1507
We also need you to call your home-state Senators (for their phone numbers, click here).

Tell Senate Leadership and tell your own Senators:

I support any amendment that would prohibit illegal aliens from receiving taxpayer-subsidized health care benefits. The Senate bill does not include effective verification!!
I support the Sessions verification amendment to the health care bill. The Senate must allow a fair up-or-down vote on the Sessions amendment!

I support the Ensign amendment (No. 3016). Low-income Americans deserve the same freedom and flexibility regarding their health care choices as the Senate bill gives legal immigrants.

I oppose any effort to shut off debate over these issues, and oppose any effort to end debate on the bill, until the amendments get the up-or-down vote they deserve!




Lou Dobbs Tonight
Monday, September 28, 2009
And T.J. BONNER, president of the National Border Patrol Council, will weigh in on the federal government’s decision to pull nearly 400 agents from the U.S.-Mexican border. As always, Lou will take your calls to discuss the issues that matter most-and to get your thoughts on where America is headed.
Mexican navy kills top cartel kingpin in shootout
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Two hundred sailors raided an upscale apartment complex and killed a reputed Mexican drug cartel chief in a two-hour gunbattle, one of the biggest victories yet in President Felipe Calderon's drug war.
Arturo Beltran Leyva, the "boss of bosses," and three members of his cartel were slain in the shootout Wednesday in Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City, according to a navy statement. A fifth cartel member committed suicide during the shootout.
Cartel gunmen hurled grenades that injured three sailors, the navy said. An Associated Press reporter at the scene heard at least 10 explosions.
During the gun battle, sailors went door-to-door to evacuate residents of the apartment complex to the gym, according to a woman who said she was speaking by cell phone to her husband inside. She would not give her name out of fear for her safety.
Beltran Levya is the highest-ranking figure taken down under Calderon, who has deployed more than 45,000 troops across Mexico to crush the cartels since taking office in December 2006. Mexico's navy often has been used in the battle as well. The offensive has earned Calderon praise from Washington even as 14,000 people have been killed in a wave of drug-related violence.
Speaking from the Copenhagen climate summit, Calderon called the raid "an important achievement for the government and people of Mexico."
The last time Mexican authorities killed a major drug lord was in 2002, when Ramon Arellano Felix of the Tijuana Cartel was shot by a police officer in the Sinaloa resort of Mazatlan.
Beltran Levya was one of five brothers who split from the Sinaloa Cartel several years ago and aligned themselves with Los Zetas, a group of former soldiers hired by the rival Gulf Cartel as hit men. The split is believed to have fueled much of the bloodshed of recent years.
One of the brothers, Alfredo Beltran Leyva, was arrested in January 2008.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says the Beltran Leyva cartel is key in the importation and distribution of tons of cocaine in the United States, as well as large quantities of heroin. Mexico considers the group one of its six major cartels.
The Mexican government had listed Arturo Beltran Leyva as one its 24 most-wanted drug lords and had offered a $2.1 million reward for his capture.
Born in the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa, the Beltran Leyva brothers worked side by side with Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, before they broke away after Gulf Cartel leader Osiel Cardenas was arrested in 2003. They soon seized the lucrative drug routes in northeastern Mexico.
U.S. officials say the Beltran Leyva Cartel has carried out heinous killings, including numerous beheadings. The gang also has had great success in buying off public officials, police and others to protect their business and get tips on planned military raids.
The U.S government added Beltran Leyva and his cartel to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act last year, a movement that denied him access to the U.S. financial system.
The state of Morelos, where Cuernavaca is located, and neighboring Guerrero have seen a spike in violence in recent months, with dozens of people killed. Some of the mutilated bodies have appeared with pieces of paper signed "boss of bosses," Beltran Leyva's nickname.
Mexican authorities have been steadily closing in on the Beltran Levya over the past year, raiding lavish parties thrown by cartel leaders even while they were on the run.
In one of the biggest blows to the gang, several top federal law enforcement officials were arrested in late 2008 for allegedly protecting and leaking confidential information to the cartel. They included former Mexican drug czar Noe Ramirez.
On Friday, sailors raided a party at mansion in the mountain down of Tepotzlan, near Cuernavaca, where they killed three alleged Beltran Leyva cartel members and detained 11.
They also detained Ramon Ayala, a Texas-based norteno singer whose band was playing at the party, on suspicion of ties to organized crime. His lawyer, Adolfo Vega, denied Ayala had ties to the Beltran Leyva gang, saying the singer didn't know his clients were drug traffickers.
In May, soldiers arrested one of Beltran Leyva's lieutenants, Rodolfo Lopez Ibarra, as he stepped off a plane in the northern city of Monterrey — fresh from a baptism party hosted by Beltran Leyva himself in Acapulco.
Months earlier, soldiers had arrested the deputy police chief of the resort town of Zihuatenejo who was allegedly protecting 14 Beltran Leyva members at a cock fight.
Mexico's drug gangs have fought against Calderon's crackdown with brutal attacks against security forces.
On Wednesday, the severed heads of six state police investigators were found on a public plaza in the northern Mexican state of Durango

President Felipe Calderon's crackdown on Mexican drug traffickers, launched in December 2006, has become more violent in recent months. Notable incidents:
Aug. 16, 2008 Gunmen attack a party in the northern city of Creel, killing 14 people, including a 16-month-old toddler who was in his father's arms. The Chihuahua state prosecutor calls it a "settling of accounts" by drug traffickers.
Aug. 28 Police find 11 headless bodies near Mrida, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. All the corpses were handcuffed. One was nude and showed signs of torture.
Sept. 12 Police find 24 bodies, 15 of them decapitated and many with signs of torture, in a forest west of Mexico City. Most have gunshots to the head.
Sept. 15 Attackers throw grenades into the crowd at an Independence Day celebration in the central city of Morelia, hometown of President Calderon. The blasts kill seven people and wound 103.
Oct. 1 Eight bodies with gunshots to the head are dumped next to an elementary school in Tijuana. A note, apparently directed to a rival drug gang, says: "Here are your people, 'Bricklayer.' Come get them!"
Dec. 21 The heads of eight soldiers and a former state police commander are found next to a Sam's Club in the western city of Chilpancingo. A note says, "For each one of mine you kill, I'll kill 10 soldiers."
Dec. 29 Sixteen bodies are dumped in vacant lots in Tijuana, 12 in one lot and four in another.
Jan. 24, 2009 Police in Tijuana arrest Santiago Meza Lopez, who state prosecutors say disposed of more than 300 bodies for drug traffickers by dissolving them in caustic soda. Mexican newspapers dub him "The Stewmaker."
Feb. 3 A newly retired army general and his two bodyguards are tortured, killed and dumped near the resort city of Cancun. He is the highest-ranking soldier killed since Calderon's offensive began.
Feb. 10 A drug gang's attack on the northern town of Villa Ahumada and an ensuing battle with soldiers kills 21 people.
Sources: USA TODAY research based on police reports, Mexican army, Mexican attorney general's office, news reports

By Chris Hawley, USA TODAY

Mexican investigators collect evidence after a desert gunbattle near Villa Ahumada on Feb. 13, days after one of the bloodiest episodes yet in Mexico's drug war.


The State Department issued a new travel warning for Mexico on Friday, urging Americans to use caution not just in border areas but also in tourist resorts because of increasing violence.
The department's statement said millions of Americans visit Mexico safely each year, but that robberies, homicides, petty thefts and carjackings are rising.
Dozens of U.S. citizens have been kidnapped in recent years, the statement said, and many of the cases remain "unresolved."
Some Americans have been trapped temporarily in border cities during battles between the Mexican military and well-armed drug gangs that "have resembled small-unit combat," the department said.
The report identified crime hot spots including Ciudad Jurez; Tijuana, across the border from San Diego; Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas; and Nogales, across the border from Nogales, Ariz.
The Associated Press

Mexican drug gangs wage war
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By Chris Hawley, USA TODAY
VILLA AHUMADA, Mexico — It was 3 a.m. when Griselda Munoz says she got the first terrifying phone call: "Mom, there are people all over, and they're shooting!"
A convoy of gunmen had invaded the ranch where her son, Jorge Marrufo, 32, was working. As shots crackled in the background, he told her he was running into the desert to hide in the sagebrush.
Before dawn, another call: "If anything happens to me, tell my kids I love them."
A CLOSER LOOK: Reporter Chris Hawley on Villa Ahumada
Later that day, Munoz found her son at a morgue with his skull caved in and four bullet holes in his chest. He was among 21 people killed Feb. 10 in this town near the U.S. border after drug gangs abducted several men, then fought a massive running gunbattle with the Mexican army — one of the bloodiest episodes yet in Mexico's war on drugs.
Prosecutors are trying to determine whether Munoz's son was an innocent bystander or involved with the gangs. Either way, Munoz attributes his death to the unprecedented combination of drug-related violence and economic misery that is ravaging northern Mexico — and showing signs of spreading into the USA.
"He never caused any trouble for anybody. But in this town, you never know who's going to decide you're a problem," Munoz said. "This is a town without laws."
That's literally true — the entire police force of Villa Ahumada, a community of 10,000 people 80 miles south of El Paso, deserted its posts last May after drug gangs executed the police chief and two officers. The crime wave, plus the crippling recession that has rippled here from the USA, has caused the town's export factories — possibly the only source of reputable, steady employment — to slash production.
"It's just one thing after another," says Villa Ahumada's mayor, Fidel Chavez. "First the economy, and now this."
The story is similar across much of Mexico's 2,000-mile-long northern border: a wave of beheadings, grenade attacks and shootouts as drug cartels battle each other for supremacy and lash out against Mexican President Felipe Calderon's drive to destroy their smuggling operations. The death toll from drug-related violence in Mexico last year surpassed 6,000, more than double the previous year, raising questions about whether Calderon's government can prevail against a brutal and often better-armed enemy without additional help from the U.S. government.
"People are scared, and they have reason to be," says Michael Shifter, a Latin America specialist at Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think tank. "The economic crisis is just going to aggravate the situation. It's very hard to imagine how things will get better in the short term."
That's bad news in broad swaths of the USA, where Mexican drug gangs have extended their operations to at least 230 cities from Texas to Alaska, according to a recent Justice Department report. Police in Atlanta and Phoenix, both major drug transit points, have blamed a wave of kidnappings on the spreading turf war among the cartels. Drug-related violence has become ever more brazen and frequent, including a rise in attacks on Border Patrol agents.
In both Mexico and the USA, most of the victims have been linked to the cartels. Nevertheless, several travel agencies, colleges (including the nearby University of Texas-El Paso) and even the U.S. military have discouraged travel to Mexico's border areas as spring break approaches — resulting in a loss of crucial tourism dollars that could make the Mexican economic crisis even worse.
More than 329,000 jobs have been lost in Mexico since June, the government says; that translates to as many as 30% of Mexican adults who are unable to find full-time work.
Rene Jimenez Ornelas, an expert on crime at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, is among those who say unemployment could push more Mexicans into the ranks of the narcos. The gangster lifestyle has been glamorized by television shows and songs called narcocorridos, and it is a powerful temptation for many youths.
"What organized crime mostly has on the front lines are people who need to eat," Jimenez Ornelas said. So the cartels "have an 'army' available — not all of them, of course, but enough to have a good-sized force at their service."
Prime smuggling territory
The violence is devastating towns and families. Three days after the gunbattle that claimed Jorge Marrufo, his mother sobbed as pallbearers lowered his casket into the ground.
The family set up a huge cluster of palm fronds and flowers, and erected a simple wooden cross. There was a rattle as the first shovelfuls of sand and pebbles hit the casket — after that, nothing but the sound of weeping and shifting sand.
Three days later, tragedy struck again — Jorge's cousin, Alfonso Marrufo, was found dead, his body pumped full of AK-47 and 9mm bullets, outside a house in town.
At first glance, it's not clear what's worth fighting for in Villa Ahumada. There's not much here besides a few water towers, a railroad track and several roadside burrito stands. A street sweeper machine roams the few paved streets, fighting a losing battle against the sand that collects in drifts along the curb. The only landmark is a small clock tower, which is stuck at 8:39.
Look at a map, though, and the town's importance becomes more apparent. Villa Ahumada sits astride Highway 45, a spur of the Pan American Highway and a straight shot to Guatemala, Panama and other points south.
To the west, dirt roads snake through the desert, providing a way around the military checkpoints on the highway. To the east, another web of trails leads to the desolate, and lightly patrolled, scrubland of West Texas.
This is prime smuggling territory.
Enrique Torres, a spokesman for the Mexican army, says two of Mexico's most powerful gangs — the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels — battle for control of Villa Ahumada. "It's considered a key location," he says.
In a microcosm of the struggle being played out across Mexico, the fight for Villa Ahumada has intensified after the Juarez cartel's No. 3 leader, Pedro Sanchez Arras, was arrested last May. The Sinaloa gang, based on Mexico's Pacific coast, has been vying for its rival's turf ever since, leading to incidents such as those that killed the Marrufos, Torres says.
In an effort to stop the violence, Calderon has deployed 46,000 troops and federal police throughout Mexico — an unprecedented law enforcement commitment that surpasses the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
Despite its numbers, the army has no investigative powers to probe drug gangs' activities and root out kingpins. Federal agents are spread thin, and there have been numerous incidents in which local Mexican police have been co-opted by the cartels.
On a recent morning, a USA TODAY reporter came across the aftermath of a gunbattle in the desert north of Villa Ahumada. Three bodies lay in the sand. Army Humvees and helicopters combed the desert for anyone who may have gotten away.
Hours earlier, an army patrol had come across a Toyota SUV picking its way through the wilderness, Maj. Gerardo Arce said. Suddenly, the doors popped open and gunmen opened fire with AK-47s. The troops returned fire, killing all three.
Inside the SUV was an arsenal worthy of any commando unit: hand grenades, a .50-caliber sniper rifle, helmets, bulletproof vests, combat fatigues and radios.
Such firepower illustrates why townspeople see only one real authority. "The gangs know everything. They're always watching," says Sandra Munoz, Jorge Marrufo's niece. "They'll even mark your house, as a warning."
'The town with no law'
Shifter says the recurring pattern of Mexico's drug war — one cartel is weakened, only to be replaced by another — shows the need for President Obama to seek solutions beyond the $400 million in mostly military aid the United States gave Mexico last year.
Options include more drug prevention and treatment programs to try to curb demand for illegal drugs in the USA, and cracking down on the flow of arms from the USA into Mexico. "It's hard to call the drug policy a successful policy," Shifter said.
Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the anti-drug czar in the Clinton administration, warned last month that Calderon's government was in danger of losing control of some areas and that millions of Mexicans could seek refuge from the violence in the USA. Recently departed CIA director Michael Hayden has said Mexico ranked alongside Iran as a top security risk to the United States.
Calderon has rejected such talk, saying his government is firmly in charge and casting Mexico's drug war as a "historic challenge of truly becoming a country of law and order."
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has credited his actions with a steep reduction of cocaine supply in many U.S. cities. Calderon says the vast majority of those killed have been drug gang members, and his approval rating remains high at about 60% — a broad enough mandate to keep pursuing the cartels for now, Shifter says.
The unknown factor is how bad the economy will get — and how that could change Calderon's plans.
The border region has been particularly hard hit by plummeting manufacturing demand from the United States, which receives 90% of Mexico's exports. At a plant run by Quality Coils S.A., which makes components for Delphi auto parts and Motorola cellphones, the payroll has dropped from 240 a year ago to 180 workers — and they work only three days a week, says personnel manager Florentino Flores.
The situation is similar across town at the Lear plant, where workers sew seats for Ford Fusion cars. In November, the plant began cutting workers, then workdays.
"There's just no work for us, I guess," says employee Juan de la Torre, whose hours were cut.
Nationwide, Mexico's exports to the United States fell 15% in December compared with the year before. Money sent home by migrants living in the USA, a crucial income source for poorer families, also fell 3.6% last year — the first annual decline in a decade. Overall, the Mexican economy could shrink by 1.5% this year, according to Morgan Stanley bank, breaking a string of years of moderate growth.
"Markets are just now beginning to think through the costs associated with this rise in organized crime," says Gray Newman, Morgan Stanley's chief economist for Latin America.
The mix of violence and recession means bad business for everybody. On Highway 45 just outside town, Javier Ramirez sits under the corrugated metal roof of his taco stand, waiting — in vain — for customers.
"Everyone is afraid to stop here now," Ramirez says. "Villa Ahumada, the town with no law. We've become famous."
'You can't trust anybody'
Even the dead here aren't allowed to rest in peace.
Days after Jorge Marrufo was buried, the lock on the cemetery gate was smashed. Someone drove back and forth over Marrufo's grave, splitting the wooden cross in two and scattering the flowers.
Then they tossed an empty beer can on the wreckage.
Later that morning, Griselda Munoz, his mother, came to the cemetery with other relatives to mend the cross and collect as many undamaged flowers as they could. They shoveled the sand back into a mound, moistened it with water and put the flowers back.
Munoz says the army killed her son after mistaking him for one of the traffickers. She says that just before he was killed, Marrufo called her and said soldiers were coming down the highway. "I'm all right," she says he told her. That was the last time she heard from him.
The federal attorney general's office originally listed Marrufo as one of the gunmen. But on Wednesday a spokesman for the federal attorney general's office, Angel Torres, said investigators were not sure of his role that night and had not determined how he died. Forensic experts were examining weapons to determine who killed Marrufo, Torres said.
Chavez, the mayor, says he believes Marrufo was killed by drug gang members dressed in fatigues. The soldiers wear masks to protect their identities, and traffickers often wear fatigues, so they are hard to tell apart, he said.
"There's no one to go for help around here," Munoz said. "You can't trust anybody to protect you."
Whoever killed Marrufo, many here fear their business in Villa Ahumada isn't finished. As Marrufo's family prepared to leave the gravesite, an unfamiliar SUV rolled slowly into the cemetery and parked behind some tombs.
Munoz shot a worried glance at the SUV and hurried to her car. The family drove out together, for safety, and left the broken flowers in a heap next to Marrufo's grave.
Hawley is Latin America correspondent for USA TODAY and the Arizona Republic