Sunday, December 26, 2010


125,000 brand new foreign workers with work permits each month -- HERE'S THE PROOF
By Roy Beck, Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 3:15 PM EST - posted on NumbersUSA

Print out this blog or bookmark it for future use.
Here is the explanation and justification for saying that the federal government brings in 1.5 million new foreign workers each year (125,000 a month) to take U.S. jobs while Americans lose theirs. (This is a key number in our national TV ad campaign.)
For months, the open-borders blogosphere has insisted that NumbersUSA is telling tall tales when we talk about these numbers. Most of the commentators and open-borders politicians even claim that we have no source for our information.
So, once again, let us lay out the federal government's own data.
All the data in this blog represent the most recent 12 months for which government data are available.
At NumbersUSA, we always go with well-sourced, mainstream numbers, even though there may be credible arguments for numbers that make our case even better. As you will see, we have been going with a rather moderate number to describe the insanity of a federal government importing foreign workers to take a dwindling number of jobs while increasing numbers of Americans lose their jobs.
That is the number of PERMANENT work permits given in the form of green cards to working-age immigrants over the 12-month period.
(SOURCE: U.S. Office of Immigration Statistics)
None of these people has ever gotten a green card before.
These green cards are the most insidious aspect. Every year, our federal government hands out PERMANENT access to U.S. jobs to nearly a million foreign adults through our legal immigration system. In 2008 while our economy was suffering the worst collapse since the Great Depression, our government continued to flood the occupations of beleaguered U.S. workers at this incredible pace.
Lots of people in think tanks that ought to know better have thrown ridiculous accusations at us, such as claiming that the feds can't possibly have given 951,000 green cards to immigrant workers since the law only allows greencards to 140,000 skilled and 5,000 unskilled workers per year.
This is the kind of deception that the high-immigration people often use. Most immigrants don't come on employment visas but through lottery, family, refugee and chain migration categories. What, these adults don't take jobs, they just go on welfare?
In fact, all immigrants (employment-based or otherwise) enter the job market at even higher rates than American natives. And that's a big problem when there are 951,000 of them a year during a Jobs Depression.
That is the number of new TEMPORARY work permits given to foreign workers who were getting them for the FIRST time during the most recent reported 12 months.
(SOURCE: U.S. Department of State Visa Office)
Many, many more foreign workers were getting work permit renewals during the 12 months, which also didn't make any sense. But because we are moderate in the way we state our numbers, we haven't been counting the renewals. We just count the new people getting the temporary permits.
That is the total number of separate foreign citizens who were either getting a new temporary work permit or getting a permanent green card.
Our federal government had the choice to not bring in a single one of these competing workers.
Instead, it gave out nearly 1.9 million new work permits to 1.9 million separate foreign workers.
1.5 million a year
This somewhat smaller number counts how many of the 1.9 million had not already been working in the United States.
The U.S. Office of Immigration Statistics reports that 57.9% of adult green card recipients were already working in the U.S. The feds had the choice not to give them permanent access to U.S. jobs but did, to the detriment of U.S. workers. Nonetheless, most of them are not technically "new recipients of foreign-worker visas."
But about 100,000 to 250,000 of them were new recipients because they were working here illegally and had not previously had a work permit.
The Center for Immigration Studies prepared a very helpful chart based on the government data. Just click on the image of it for an enlarged version that you can read.
The chart shows how many new temporary workers came for 14 different temporary work visa categories.
It then shows the government's figure of 396,265 working-age green card recipients who had not previously been living in the U.S.
And it estimates that an additional 100,000 to 250,000 of the working-age green card recipients had been in the U.S. illegally but had never previously had a work permit.
The end result is a range between 1,443,265 and 1,593,605 who were new foreign workers with the legal right to take a U.S. job.
A nice round, medium number is 1.5 million which -- as the above stats and math show -- is a highly-sourced, credible approximation of the magnitude of damage the federal immigration programs are doing to unemployed Americans.
125,000 a month
1.5 million divided by 12 gives you 125,000 a month.
Using the most recent 12-month statistics in every category of available government data (primarily 2008), that is how many foreign workers the feds have given first-time work visas to -- EACH MONTH.
I have seen little effort to reduce this foreign-worker importation.
And I have seen considerable effort by Congress and the Administration to keep the importation as high as possible while talking about the need to increase it.
You should feel free to use the 160,000-a-month figure for the separate new green cards and new temporary work permits given. Just be sure that you know that about 35,000 a month are green cards to foreign workers who already were here on temporary permits.
NumbersUSA is using the more-conservatively-stated 125,000-a-month figure for "new foreign workers."
Will the high-immigration think tanks and advocacy groups ever admit to these facts? Or will they continue to try to convince their constituents that our immigration policies only bring in a handful of workers?
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
NumbersUSA's blogs are copyrighted and may be republished or reposted only if they are copied in their entirety, including this paragraph, and provide proper credit to NumbersUSA. NumbersUSA bears no responsibility for where our blogs may be republished or reposted.
Views and opinions expressed in blogs on this website are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect official policies of NumbersUSA.

President Eisenhower Defended Our Borders
How Eisenhower solved illegal border crossings from Mexico

By John Dillin
WASHINGTON – George W. Bush isn't the first Republican president to face a full-blown immigration crisis on the US-Mexican border.
Fifty-three years ago, when newly elected Dwight Eisenhower moved into the White House, America's southern frontier was as porous as a spaghetti sieve. As many as 3 million illegal migrants had walked and waded northward over a period of several years for jobs in California, Arizona, Texas, and points beyond.
President Eisenhower cut off this illegal traffic. He did it quickly and decisively with only 1,075 United States Border Patrol agents - less than one-tenth of today's force. The operation is still highly praised among veterans of the Border Patrol.
Although there is little to no record of this operation in Ike's official papers, one piece of historic evidence indicates how he felt. In 1951, Ike wrote a letter to Sen. William Fulbright (D) of Arkansas. The senator had just proposed that a special commission be created by Congress to examine unethical conduct by government officials who accepted gifts and favors in exchange for special treatment of private individuals.
General Eisenhower, who was gearing up for his run for the presidency, said "Amen" to Senator Fulbright's proposal. He then quoted a report in The New York Times, highlighting one paragraph that said: "The rise in illegal border-crossing by Mexican 'wetbacks' to a current rate of more than 1,000,000 cases a year has been accompanied by a curious relaxation in ethical standards extending all the way from the farmer-exploiters of this contraband labor to the highest levels of the Federal Government."
Years later, the late Herbert Brownell Jr., Eisenhower's first attorney general, said in an interview with this writer that the president had a sense of urgency about illegal immigration when he took office.
America "was faced with a breakdown in law enforcement on a very large scale," Mr. Brownell said. "When I say large scale, I mean hundreds of thousands were coming in from Mexico [every year] without restraint."
Although an on-and-off guest-worker program for Mexicans was operating at the time, farmers and ranchers in the Southwest had become dependent on an additional low-cost, docile, illegal labor force of up to 3 million, mostly Mexican, laborers.
According to the Handbook of Texas Online, published by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas State Historical Association, this illegal workforce had a severe impact on the wages of ordinary working Americans. The Handbook Online reports that a study by the President's Commission on Migratory Labor in Texas in 1950 found that cotton growers in the Rio Grande Valley, where most illegal aliens in Texas worked, paid wages that were "approximately half" the farm wages paid elsewhere in the state.
Profits from illegal labor led to the kind of corruption that apparently worried Eisenhower. Joseph White, a retired 21-year veteran of the Border Patrol, says that in the early 1950s, some senior US officials overseeing immigration enforcement "had friends among the ranchers," and agents "did not dare" arrest their illegal workers.
Walt Edwards, who joined the Border Patrol in 1951, tells a similar story. He says: "When we caught illegal aliens on farms and ranches, the farmer or rancher would often call and complain [to officials in El Paso]. And depending on how politically connected they were, there would be political intervention. That is how we got into this mess we are in now."
Bill Chambers, who worked for a combined 33 years for the Border Patrol and the then-called US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), says politically powerful people are still fueling the flow of illegals.
During the 1950s, however, this "Good Old Boy" system changed under Eisenhower - if only for about 10 years.
In 1954, Ike appointed retired Gen. Joseph "Jumpin' Joe" Swing, a former West Point classmate and veteran of the 101st Airborne, as the new INS commissioner.
Influential politicians, including Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson (D) of Texas and Sen. Pat McCarran (D) of Nevada, favored open borders, and were dead set against strong border enforcement, Brownell said. But General Swing's close connections to the president shielded him - and the Border Patrol - from meddling by powerful political and corporate interests.
One of Swing's first decisive acts was to transfer certain entrenched immigration officials out of the border area to other regions of the country where their political connections with people such as Senator Johnson would have no effect.
Then on June 17, 1954, what was called "Operation Wetback" began. Because political resistance was lower in California and Arizona, the roundup of aliens began there. Some 750 agents swept northward through agricultural areas with a goal of 1,000 apprehensions a day. By the end of July, over 50,000 aliens were caught in the two states. Another 488,000, fearing arrest, had fled the country.
By mid-July, the crackdown extended northward into Utah, Nevada, and Idaho, and eastward to Texas.
By September, 80,000 had been taken into custody in Texas, and an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 illegals had left the Lone Star State voluntarily.
Unlike today, Mexicans caught in the roundup were not simply released at the border, where they could easily reenter the US. To discourage their return, Swing arranged for buses and trains to take many aliens deep within Mexico before being set free.
Tens of thousands more were put aboard two hired ships, the Emancipation and the Mercurio. The ships ferried the aliens from Port Isabel, Texas, to Vera Cruz, Mexico, more than 500 miles south.
The sea voyage was "a rough trip, and they did not like it," says Don Coppock, who worked his way up from Border Patrolman in 1941 to eventually head the Border Patrol from 1960 to 1973.
Mr. Coppock says he "cannot understand why [President] Bush let [today's] problem get away from him as it has. I guess it was his compassionate conservatism, and trying to please [Mexican President] Vincente Fox."
There are now said to be 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens in the US. Of the Mexicans who live here, an estimated 85 percent are here illegally.
One day in 1954, Border Patrol agent Walt Edwards picked up a newspaper in Big Spring, Texas, and saw some startling news. The government was launching an all-out drive to oust illegal aliens from the United States.
The orders came straight from the top, where the new president, Dwight Eisenhower, had put a former West Point classmate, Gen. Joseph Swing, in charge of immigration enforcement.
General Swing's fast-moving campaign soon secured America's borders - an accomplishment no other president has since equaled. Illegal migration had dropped 95 percent by the late 1950s.
Several retired Border Patrol agents who took part in the 1950s effort, including Mr. Edwards, say much of what Swing did could be repeated today.
"Some say we cannot send 12 million illegals now in the United States back where they came from. Of course we can!" Edwards says.
Donald Coppock, who headed the Patrol from 1960 to 1973, says that if Swing and Ike were still running immigration enforcement, "they'd be on top of this in a minute."
William Chambers, another '50s veteran, agrees. "They could do a pretty good job" sealing the border.
Edwards says: "When we start enforcing the law, these various businesses are, on their own, going to replace their [illegal] workforce with a legal workforce."
While Congress debates building a fence on the border, these veterans say other actions should have higher priority.
1. End the current practice of taking captured Mexican aliens to the border and releasing them. Instead, deport them deep into Mexico, where return to the US would be more costly.
2. Crack down hard on employers who hire illegals. Without jobs, the aliens won't come.
3. End "catch and release" for non-Mexican aliens. It is common for illegal migrants not from Mexico to be set free after their arrest if they promise to appear later before a judge. Few show up.
The Patrol veterans say enforcement could also be aided by a legalized guest- worker program that permits Mexicans to register in their country for temporary jobs in the US. Eisenhower's team ran such a program. It permitted up to 400,000 Mexicans a year to enter the US for various agriculture jobs that lasted for 12 to 52 weeks.
• John Dillin is former managing editor of the Monitor.
The American Legion Takes A Stand Against Illegal Immigration
The American Legion Takes A Stand Against Illegal Immigration

The America Legion recently released a statement on ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, a very pointed statement. The Legion published their policy in a 30 page booklet, spelling their policy out in detail:
The nation’s largest veterans organization released this week a policy bulletin that takes a firm stand against illegal immigration and calls on its members to hold elected officials accountable for implementing and enforcing U.S. immigration law.

The 30-page bulletin is officially titled, “The American Legion20Policy on Immigration: A Strategy to Address Illegal Immigration in the United States.”
It is about time that a group who stands up for veterans of all services, whether they served in peacetime or wartime took a tough stand on a problem that is overwhelming this country. We have roughly 25 million veterans in this country who served honorably to protect the legal residents of this country, not the people who invade our borders nearly unchecked.
More from WND on the American Legion:
“The American Legion members have served in the U.S. Armed Forces throughout the world so that Americans can be safe at home,” the organization’s website explains. “This gives them a unique perspective to the threat that open borders present to their homeland.”
“America is a nation built by immigrants and the American Legion recognizes and celebrates that,” said National Commander David K. Rehbein in a press release. “We do take strong issue, however, with illegal immigration. It’s a matter of national security. The 9/11 hijackers and three of the men who plotted to kill innocent Americans at Ft. Dix were perfect examples of terrorists exploiting our weak immigration laws and our lack of enforcement. This booklet is a good reminder that America has a serious problem that needs to be addressed.”
The Legion’s stance on illegal immigration is clearly stated o n page 1 of the booklet, it stands alone:
“The American Legion is opposed to any person or persons being in this country illegally, regardless of race, sex, creed, color or national origin,” the bulletin states. “We believe the current laws governing immigration should be enforced impartially and equally.”
The America Legion has a long history that dates back to Theodore Roosevelt. The Legion knows something about supporting veterans and the laws of this country. Read on:
Originally founded in 1919 on an idea proposed by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (the president of the same name’s eldest son), the Legion has now grown to a membership of more than 2.6 million wartime veterans organized in more than 14,000 posts nationwide.
The policy bulletin explains, “Legionnaires subscribe to a creed, ‘To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order and to foster and perpetuate a 100 percent Americanism.’ These words are recited in unison at Legion meetings and represent a continuing contract of service to benefit America and it is this commitment by Legionnaires that is the fuel for action on illegal immigration and other national security concerns facing this country.”
The Legion hopes the policy booklet will educate the American public on how “the security, economy and social fabric of the United States of America is=2 0seriously threatened by individuals who are illegally in this country.”
“Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime,” the booklet states. “The poor, minorities, children and individuals with little education are particularly vulnerable. It causes an enormous drain on public services, depresses wages of American workers, and contributes to population growth that, in turn, contributes to school overcrowding and housing shortages. Directly and indirectly, U.S. taxpayers are paying for illegal immigration.”
In financial terms, the booklet cites a report by the Center for Immigration Studies that claims the average illegal alien household in 2003 paid approximately $4,200 in federal taxes while, on average, created $7,000 in costs at the federal level.
The booklet does highlight a real problem that the USA faces despite the formation of the Department of Homeland Security. It spells out that it is about educating all people on the dearth of security issues still face this country today. Not only did they publish this booklet for education purposes but it also contains language that discusses ways to prevent these security issues:
In response to what it sees as a contributing factor to crime, terrorism, unemployment and depressed wages, the Legion proposes the following five-point strategy urging the federal government to enact the following steps:
1. Secure the borders and other points of entry in the United States, including construction of a physical barrier and sufficient Border Patrol presence.
2. Eliminate the jobs magnet and social services benefits that draw illegal immigrants to the U.S. by enforcing laws sanctioning employers who hire illegal aliens, implementing employment eligibility verification and eliminating government benefits for illegal aliens.
3. Eliminate amnesty laws that permit illegal aliens to break the law and remain in the U.S.
4. Reduce the U.S. illegal alien population by attrition through workplace enforcement, interagency and interstate cooperation, rejection of driver’s license plans, mandating English as national language and establishing parameters for noncriminal deportations.
5. Screen and track foreign visitors legally entering the United States. The plan further calls for reforms to current legal immigration policy, including alteration of the non-immigrant visa program that allows some nations’ citizens entrance to the U.S. without a visa application, elimination of the visa lottery that randomly approves visas from countries with low immigration rates and expanding visa allowances for seasonal and temporary workers.
The five step program is a good program. It is workable with some change in legislation and enforcement of current laws. It becomes more important when one considers the following report from WND:
Costs for securing the nati on’s borders are expected to increase 20.6 percent in fiscal year 2009. These include expenses for border patrol, electronic surveillance, the border fence and other security needs. President Bush allocated $44.3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security – a 4.5 percent increase from last year’s budget of $42.4 billion.
“While the U.S. builds a fence across much of the border, many illegals are taking a different route. Underground,” Rubenstein reveals. “Authorities have discovered dozens of illegal tunnels across the international border in recent years. Smuggling of drugs, weapons, and immigrants takes place daily through these underground passageways.”
Illegal aliens also use drainage systems to travel across the U.S.-Mexico border – from El Paso to San Diego.
“One tunnel, actually a system of two half-mile passages connecting Tijuana with San Diego, is by comparison a superhighway,” he wrote.
While the Border Patrol attempts to stop these underground incursions with steel doors, cameras and sensors, harsh weather conditions and human smugglers destroy the equipment and barriers.
These costs, and the expenses of providing “enhanced driver’s licenses” as alternative passports for citizens, RFID chips, government databases and watch lists are expected to soar.
In his research, Rubenstein finds that the average immigrant household generates a fiscal debt of $3,408 after feder al benefits and taxes are considered. At the state and local level, the fiscal debt amounts to $4.398 per immigrant household.
“There are currently about 36 million immigrants living in about 9 million households, so the aggregate deficit attributable to immigrants comes to $70.3 billion,” he writes. “… Immigrants could deplete the amount of funds available for infrastructure by as much as $70 billion per year.”
Rubenstein cites figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, projecting that the U.S. population will reach 433 million by 2050 – increasing 44 percent, or 135 million, from today’s numbers.
A full 82 percent of this increase will be directly attributable to new immigrants and their U.S.-born children.
“The brutal reality is that no conceivable infrastructure program can keep pace with that kind of population growth,” he wrote. “The traditional ’supply-side’ response to America’s infrastructure shortage – build, build, build – is dead, dead, dead. Demand reduction is the only viable way to close the gap between the supply and demand of public infrastructure.”
He concludes, “Immigration reduction must play a role.”
The five step program that the Legion proposes is a sound one. It will require the federal government to tighten immigration policies. The policies don’t appear to require bigger government. It does require ou r Democratic-led government to take a tough stand on illegal immigration, one I believe they will never take. Since our government at this point in time will never toughen the laws, this booklet will go largely ignored by our representatives in DC and that is the shame.
The American Legion wants to remind of us the facts surrounding 9/11 and the plot to kill Fort Dix soldiers, nothing more, nothing less. It is time for Congress to listen to the more than 2 million veterans who claim membership in this organization. It is time to secure our borders, it is time that the American people realize our security is at risk as long as our borders are not secure.


what is the cost of all this "cheap" Mexican labor? STAGGERING!

Unfettered Immigration = Poverty

Robert Rector | May 16, 2006This 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]
Immigrants and EducationOn average, immigrants have low education levels relative to native-born U.S. citizens. One-quarter of legal adult immigrants lack a high school degree, compared to 9 percent among the native-born population. However, there is a well educated sub-group within the legal immigrant population. Some 32 percent of legal immigrant adults have a college degree, compared to 30 percent of native-born adults.[9]
The education levels of illegal aliens are lower than those of legal immigrants. Half of all adult illegal immigrants lack a high school degree.[10] Among Latin American and Mexican immigrants, 60 percent lack a high school degree and only 7 percent have a college degree. By contrast, among native-born workers in the U.S., only 6 percent have failed to complete high school degrees and nearly a third have a college degree.[11]
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)
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] (THESE FIGURES ARE HIGHLY DATES, AND PREDICATED ON A SIGNIFICICANTLY SMALLER NUMBER OF ILLEGALS IN OUR BORDERS. THE STATE of CALIFORNIA ALONE PUTS OUT $20 BILLION A YEAR IN WELFARE TO ILLEGALS!)

Family Chain Migration
The impact and cost of the Hagel/Martinez amendment would extend well beyond the ten million or so individuals initially granted amnesty. When an individual is granted citizenship, he is given the unrestricted right to bring his spouse, minor children, and parents into the country. Each of these individuals would have the right to become a citizen after he or she has lived in the country five years. Thus, each individual granted amnesty under the Hagel/Martinez bill could bring five or more additional immigrants, all of whom could become citizens.
As noted, many of the individuals who would be granted amnesty under the amendment have families abroad. Illegal immigrants granted permanent residence would have the immediate right to bring spouses and minor children into the country. Once here, the spouses and children would receive government services and have the right to become citizens. The total number of foreign-born persons who would ultimately be granted citizenship under Hagel/Martinez could be far more than 10 million, and if so, government costs would swell far above the $16 billion figure given above.
But the fiscal problem gets worse; when an illegal immigrant has obtained citizenship through the amnesty process, he or she would have the right to bring his or her parents in the U.S. as permanent lawful residents. (Currently one-tenth of the annual flow of legal immigrants to the U.S. are parents of recent immigrants who have naturalized.) If ten million current illegal immigrants were granted amnesty and citizenship under Hagel/Martinez, as many as twenty million foreign born parents would be given the right to immigrate to the U.S. Once in the U.S., the immigrant parents would receive social services and government funded medical care, much of it paid for through the Medicaid disproportionate share program.
These immigrant parents coming to the U.S. would also be eligible to apply for citizenship themselves. On attaining citizenship, most would become eligible for benefits from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid programs, at an average cost of over $18,000 per person per year. While it is true that the language requirements of the citizenship test would serve as a barrier to immigrant parents becoming citizens, the tests are not very difficult and the financial rewards of citizenship would be very great. If only ten percent of the parents of those receiving amnesty under Hagel/Martinez became citizens and enrolled in SSI and Medicaid, the extra costs to government would be over $30 billion per year.
Obviously, these costs would not begin for some time, but the long-term potential of amnesty to raise government spending is quite real.
While no one can predict how many spouses, children, and parents of the beneficiaries of amnesty would enter the country, the pool of those who could enter is enormous, and the potential long-term government costs would be staggering.
Granting Amnesty is Likely to Further Increase Illegal Immigration
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 granted amnesty to 2.7 million illegal aliens. The primary purpose of the act was to decrease the number of illegal immigrants by limiting their inflow and by legalizing the status of illegal immigrants already here.[63] In fact, the act did nothing to stem the tide of illegal entry. The number of illegal aliens entering the country increased five fold from around 140,000 per year in the 1980s to 700,000 per year today.
Illegal entries increased dramatically shortly after IRCA went into effect. It seems plausible that the prospect of future amnesty and citizenship served as a magnet to draw even more illegal immigrants into the country. After all, if the nation granted amnesty once why wouldn’t it do so again?
The Hagel/Martinez legislation would repeat IRCA on a much larger scale. This time, nine to ten million illegal immigrants would be granted amnesty. As with IRCA, the bill promises to reduce future illegal entry but contains little policy that would actually accomplish this. The granting of amnesty to 10 million illegal immigrants is likely to serve as a magnet pulling even greater numbers of aliens into the country in the future.
If enacted, the legislation would spur further increases in the future flow of low-skill migrants. This in turn would increase poverty in America, enlarge the welfare state, and increase social and political tensions.
On the surface, individuals in the guest worker program would be limited to a six-year stay in the U.S. But they would have the option to convert to legal permanent residence (LPR) after four years. This would make them permanent residents with the right to naturalize. In addition, all children born to guest workers would automatically become U.S. citizens. This would make it very unlikely that the parent would ever be forced to leave the country.
As structured, the Hagel/Martinez guest worker program could, within a decade, double the inflow of legal permanent immigrants into the U.S. Many or most of these immigrants would be low-skill and would thus impose fiscal costs on U.S. taxpayers. It is true that while many employers would benefit from additional low-skill laborers; however, if such laborers are granted citizenship and permanent residence, their employment is likely to generate negative externalities that impose costs on the rest of society. A guest worker program that, in fact, provides permanent residence and citizenship would not be beneficial to the nation’s finances.

Second, recognizing the fact that low-skill immigrants are likely to be a fiscal burden on society, government should increase the average skill and education levels of incoming immigrants. Currently, the average skill level of immigrants is significantly reduced by two factors: largely uncontrolled border crossings and the high priority on kinship ties in the issuance of permanent residence visas. Granting citizenship automatically confers welfare eligibility and makes it unlikely the parent will ever leave the U.S

More Welfare For Mex Drug Cartels - BUT NO MONEY TO DEFEND OUR BORDERS?!?

THE HISPANDERING PRESIDENT HANDS OVER ANOTHER 36 MILLION TO NARCOMEX, while leaving our borders open and undefended. Mex drug cartels haul back, or transfer through cartels banksters WELLS FARGO and BANK of AMERICA (BOTH LA RAZA DONORS) $30 BILLION!!!

"This is country belongs to Mexico" is said by the Mexican Militant. This is a common teaching that the U.S. is really AZTLAN, belonging to Mexicans, which is taught to Mexican kids in Arizona and California through a LA Raza educational program funded by American Tax Payers via President Obama, when he gave LA RAZA $800,000.00 in March of 2009!

State Dept. approves $36M in anti-drug funds for Mexico despite human-rights record
By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 3, 2010; 9:09 PM
The State Department has determined that Mexico can receive millions in anti-drug money that was contingent on its human-rights performance, but officials said Friday that they are withholding additional funds in hopes of seeing more progress.
The money comes by way of the 2008 Merida Initiative, which has provided more than $1 billion for Mexico's narcotics fight. U.S. law requires 15 percent of certain accounts to be frozen until the State Department affirms Mexico is meeting human-rights standards.
The report on Mexico's performance, sent to Congress on Thursday, will allow Mexico to receive $36 million, officials said.
"The funds . . . are really critical to moving ahead on certain things with the Mexican government, [such as] equipment and training," said one State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the report is not public.
But, the official said, millions from the 2010 supplemental appropriation bill will remain frozen.
"We did want to underscore we're going to be remaining engaged on human rights issues," the official said.
Since Mexican President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006, he has deployed 50,000 troops to combat drug-related violence. That has led to a sharp increase in allegations of military abuses, including torture.
Human-rights organizations have been especially critical of the Mexican military's legal system, which releases little information about its investigations of alleged abuses by soldiers.
It is not clear how much money from the supplemental bill is being held up, but the decision to do so will have little practical effect, because U.S. and Mexican officials have barely begun planning how to spend it.
Even so, Maureen Meyer of the nonprofit Washington Office on Latin America said that the move was symbolically important.
"The U.S. is sending the message that you cannot fight crime with crime and you cannot fight drugs while tolerating abuses by your security forces," she said.
Nik Steinberg of Human Rights Watch said the freeze on some funds was positive. "Nothing should have been released, because Mexico is simply not meeting the human-rights requirements," Steinberg said. "There are widespread and systematic abuses by the military, for which they have total impunity."







Threat grows as Mexican cartels move to beef up U.S. presence
By William Booth and Nick Miroff
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, October 19, 2010; 1:36 AM
SAN DIEGO -- When a major Mexican drug cartel opened a branch office here on the California side of the border, U.S. authorities tapped into their cellphones - then listened, watched and waited.
Their surveillance effort captured more than 50,000 calls over six months, conversations that reached deep into Mexico and helped build a sprawling case against 43 suspects - including Mexican police and top officials - allegedly linked to a savage trafficking ring known as the Fernando Sanchez Organization.
According to the wiretaps and confidential informants, the suspects plotted kidnappings and killings and hired American teenage girls, with nicknames like Dopey, to smuggle quarter-pound loads of methamphetamine across the border for $100 a trip. To send a message to a rival, they dumped a disemboweled dog in his mother's front yard.
But U.S. law enforcement officials say the most worrisome thing about the Fernando Sanchez Organization was how aggressively it moved to set up operations in the United States, working out of a San Diego apartment it called "The Office."
At a time of heightened concern in Washington that drug violence along the border may spill into the United States, the case dubbed "Luz Verde," or Green Light, shows how Mexican cartels are trying to build up their U.S. presence.
The Fernando Sanchez Organization's San Diego venture functioned almost like a franchise, prosecutors say, giving it greater control over lucrative smuggling routes and drug distribution networks north of the border.
"They moved back and forth, from one side to the other. They commuted. We had lieutenants of the organization living here in San Diego and ordering kidnappings and murders in Mexico," said Todd Robinson, the assistant U.S. attorney who will prosecute the alleged drug ring next year.
The case shows that as the border becomes less of an operational barrier for Mexican cartels, it appears to be less of one for U.S. surveillance efforts. Because the suspects' cellphone and radio traffic could be captured by towers on the northern side of the border, U.S. agents were able to eavesdrop on calls made on Mexican cellphones, between two callers in Mexico - a tactic prosecutors say has never been deployed so extensively.
Captured on one wiretap: a cartel leader, a former homicide detective from Tijuana, negotiating with a Mexican state judicial police officer about a job offer to lead a death squad.
Recorded on other calls: the operation's biggest catch, Jesus Quinones Marquez, a high-ranking Mexican official and alleged cartel operative code-named "El Rinon," or "The Kidney." As he worked and socialized with U.S. law enforcement officials in his role as international liaison for the Baja California attorney general's office, Quinones passed confidential information to cartel bosses and directed Mexican police to take action against rival traffickers, prosecutors say.
He and 34 other suspects are now in U.S. jails. The remaining eight are still at large.
Investigators say it is not unusual for Mexican cartel leaders and their underlings to move north to seek refuge, or place representatives in such cities as Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta to manage large deliveries of drugs. But the Fernando Sanchez Organization was more ambitious. It was building a network in San Diego, complete with senior managers to facilitate large and small drug shipments and sales.
Cross-border network
The gang is an offshoot of the Tijuana cartel, led by baby-faced Fernando Sanchez Arellano, a nephew of the once fearsome Arellano-Felix brothers who ran the Tijuana drug trade for almost 20 years before they were captured or killed. The nephew's organization is a weaker syndicate, at war with itself and rivals, police say, and locked in a desperate struggle to maintain market share in the highly competitive billion-dollar drug corridor into California.
Unlike the cartel crews in Mexico, which are typically built on strong ties between families or friends, the San Diego franchise recruited from U.S.-based Latino street gangs. Some were illegal immigrants, others U.S. citizens, according to arrest warrants. Twelve of the 43 indicted have alleged gang affiliations in San Diego. Six of the 43 are current or former Mexican law enforcement officers. Eight are women.
"You couldn't pick these people out of a crowd," said Leonard Miranda, a retired captain in the Chula Vista, Calif., police department who worked on the investigation. "Some of them kept a very low profile. Their family members didn't even know."
According to the 86-page federal racketeering indictment unsealed July 23, cartel members operated stash houses, managed smuggling crews, distributed marijuana and methamphetamine, trafficked weapons, laundered money, committed robberies and collected drug debts. When people did not pay, they were kidnapped or targeted with execution on both sides of the border.
U.S. authorities say the wiretaps allowed them to foil murder plots and other violent acts. The assistant special agent in charge of the San Diego FBI office, David Bowdich, said his teams stopped the execution of two Mexican police officers. The authorities also saved a cartel associate called "Sharky" who was going to be killed because he had disrespected drug lords in Tijuana.
Troubling signs
From their apartments by the beach or cars parked at motels, the targets of the investigation talked and talked on their cellphones.
They almost always spoke in Spanish, usually in clipped code, with lots of street slang. They bought and quickly discarded the phones. Top lieutenants often employed "alineadores," personal assistants who juggled a dozen phones and took messages so that the boss would not be heard on the line. Investigators say the alleged cartel members clearly were afraid that their calls could be monitored.
And they were right. In February, the FBI secured hard-to-get "roving" wiretaps for 44 individuals that allowed investigators to track their movements via global positioning satellites.
According to U.S. law enforcement officials, the Mexican government was not involved in the investigation.
Quinones, the high-ranking Mexican official, was a close adviser to Attorney General Rommel Moreno, the top prosecutor in Mexico's Baja California state. He was arrested July 22 when U.S. agents invited him to the San Diego police department to help with an investigation. It was a setup.
"My client's gone from a cross-border international liaison officer to a guy in a 10-by-10-foot isolation cell in lockdown 23 hours a day," said his defense attorney, Patrick Hall, who described Quinones as "a normal dad with three kids, married 11 years, who lived in Tijuana all his adult life and was one of the dads out there at the Little League baseball games."
Hall said the federal agents were "reading in facts and interpretations and distortions into the true meanings of what's being said on the wiretaps."
Quinones's arrest has almost certainly dealt a blow to efforts at cross-border information sharing and collaboration, though officials on both sides played down the apparent betrayal. "Would you stop going to church just because of one bad priest?" Quinones's boss, Moreno, said in an interview in Tijuana.
But the U.S. wiretaps also detected other troubling signs of corruption.
On the day of the mass arrests, U.S. agents arranged for suspected drug lieutenant Jose Najera Gil to pick up visa documents he was seeking from the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana. But the Mexican police who were supposed to arrest him at the consulate failed to show up.
A day before the arrests, another Mexican police officer, Jose Ortega Nuvo, received a call on his cellphone, which was being tapped by U.S agents. The caller warned him that he was about to be arrested. According to court testimony, the call came from the offices of the federal police in Mexico City - a special unit vetted to work alongside agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Mexican drug gangs gain foothold in Guatemalan jungle
Tim Johnson | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: October 27, 2010 09:50:17 PM
EL REMATE, Guatemala — The Peten jungle, once known for its jaguars and Mayan ruins, has fallen prey to a notorious Mexican drug gang that operates from remote jungle ranches and has begun openly challenging Guatemalan security forces for control of the roads.
The struggle that's under way in this remote region could help determine the fate of Guatemala, a fragile democracy south of Mexico that's already under enormous pressure from narcotics gangs. It's certain to affect Mexico, which is struggling to maintain order against powerful armed gangs on its northern borders.
In a fierce clash that began south of the famous Tikal ruins, the drug gang known as Los Zetas, based in Mexico's northeastern border area and the Yucatan Peninsula, was able to outgun local police by deploying armored vehicles, bigger guns and far more ammunition. Then it fought a large army patrol to a draw, losing vehicles and taking wounded but apparently getting away with a stash of cocaine.
The transformation of the once-pristine jungle into a no man's land is the latest calamity to befall Guatemala, which has had a history of military domination, a 36-year civil war and a genocide conducted by the Guatemalan army against Mayan Indians some three decades ago. Although the CIA helped overthrow a government in 1952, Guatemala's newest drama is getting little high-level attention in Washington.
The recent confrontation between Los Zetas and the authorities began with a shouted warning from a bullhorn and a wrong turn.
Around midday on Oct. 5, when police stopped a convoy of 16 or so big double-cabin pickups and other vehicles a short drive south of the Tikal National Park, an amplified voice from one vehicle barked a warning:
"We are Los Zetas! Let us pass. We don't want problems."
To make their point, several men carrying assault rifles got out of the vehicles and fired hundreds of rounds into the air in a deafening display of firepower.
To describe the police as alarmed is an understatement.
"If you have an M16 rifle, and all I have is a 9 mm pistol, and you have 10 other guys behind you, I won't mess with you," said local police Sub-Inspector Oscar Bertruin, who was at the scene.
The police let the convoy pass, then called for help from the army, according to the accounts of several officers, nearly all of whom declined to give their names for fear of retaliation.
Los Zetas, a mercenary group founded by Mexican former special forces troops who broke off early this year from the Gulf Cartel in northeast Mexico, is at the top of the criminal heap. As the two groups wage a turf war in their home region, the Zetas have continued pushing into the eastern side of Central America, strengthening a cocaine pipeline from Colombia.
A larger rival Mexican cartel, the Sinaloa Federation, reportedly focuses on a corridor along Central America's Pacific coast.
The State Department's international narcotics and law enforcement chief, David T. Johnson, said in a speech Oct. 5 that 275 tons of cocaine transited Guatemala each year, nearly all of it destined for the United States.
Mexico is wary of the growing trouble on its southern frontier.
"If Guatemala goes down the drink, then Mexico is dealing with its northern and its southern borders. A major failure of democracy in Guatemala is going to directly impact Mexico City — resources, political capital, time, energy, human resources, everything — and that negatively affects the United States," said Samuel Logan, the regional manager for the Americas at iJet Intelligent Risk Systems, a consultancy on risk management based in Annapolis, Md.
From a stronghold in the Guatemalan city of Coban, the mountain capital of Alto Verapaz a little to the south, the Zetas have been pushing into the Peten, appearing sometimes in sizable numbers, maneuvering at ease and with military discipline.
"They circulate with numerous forces and carry the latest weaponry. When they use violence, no authority exists here that can control them," said Hector Rosada-Granados, a sociologist who helped negotiate the end to a 36-year guerrilla war in Guatemala in the 1990s.
The Zetas, striking up alliances with local drug clans, use a string of "narco-ranches" scattered deep in the Peten that are home to hundreds of dirt landing strips. In the remote Laguna del Tigre region, U.S. drug agents have spotted a "cemetery" where narcos abandon and torch aircraft after unloading cocaine from the Andes.
Sometimes rival gangs battle for the cocaine or underlings steal from their bosses. A 43-year-old ranch owner, Giovanni Espana, reportedly stung the Zetas that way back in June. A commando squad executed him June 26, but the missing shipment never turned up.
In early October, a Zetas contingent of some 80 to 90 heavily armed men arrived at the Espana ranch near El Naranjo, where the slain rancher's widow still resided, and used earth-moving machinery to dig for the dope. Later events indicate they might have found it.
The Zetas convoy started traveling west toward Mexico on Oct. 5, when it bullied its way past the police.
Then bad luck hit. The Mexicans got lost. At the eastern end of Peten Itza Lake, they turned up a road toward the Mayan ruins of Tikal. It was after nightfall. They turned around, and were heading down a hill at the hamlet of El Capulinar when they ran into military units backed up by police, who'd been lent army assault rifles. For 10 to 15 minutes, a full-bore battle unfolded.
Some Zetas gunmen sprayed heavy fire at the soldiers, while others launched grenades. Still others shot flares into the sky so the Zetas could see soldiers using their vehicles as parapets. As the firefight ebbed, the Zetas caravan broke through the roadblock, with vehicles peeling off two by two, some of them with tires shot out, to leave passage for key vehicles in the middle.
At least five Zetas vehicles, all apparently armored, pierced the roadblock. Police now suspect that the vehicles transported the recovered cocaine.
The soldiers managed to immobilize 11 of the Zeta vehicles. Three people are known to have died. A soldier was among the wounded. Most of the gunmen melted into the jungle.
The intensity of the battle jolted even the soldiers.
"A lot of the soldiers who were in the firefight asked to be discharged later because they were frightened," said Bertruin, the police official.
Migrant workers who clear land by slashing down forest, who've flooded to the Peten, also have found themselves dealing with criminal pressure.
"The narcos arrive at the farms and pay cash for whatever price the owner asks. If he refuses to sell, they threaten him," said Edgar Gutierrez, a former Guatemalan foreign minister. "The state (is) absent. Police, prosecutors and judges have been co-opted by the drug traffickers."
The Peten has only five legal border crossings with Mexico, Gutierrez said, but more than 100 unsanctioned crossings have opened up.
Along those dirt tracks, workers move cocaine toward Mexico on the backs of four-wheeled all-terrain buggies. Then they return to ranch jobs.
"Half the time they work as ranch hands, and half the time they offload airplanes and light torches along the sides of clandestine landing strips," Logan said.