Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Do, or do not. There is no 'try'. - Yoda

Phoenix Kidnappings

The Village Voice has an enragifying article on kidnapping in Phoenix.  You really should read the whole thing.

Phoenix is labeled the kidnapping capital of the United States because of people- and drug-smuggling out of Mexico. It’s a catchphrase that politicians like U.S. Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona use to alarm voters into buying the get-tough-on-illegals policies they’re selling. But it’s the smuggled immigrants—not the general public—who overwhelmingly are the primary victims.

In 2008, the most recent year for which complete statistics are available, there were 368 reported kidnappings in Phoenix, up from 160 in 1999. Almost all of the abductions were inside the smuggling world. In 2008, IIMPACT detectives worked 63 kidnapping cases, investigated 49 drop houses, and arrested 129 human smugglers.

What happens in these cases if horrifying.  If people choose the wrong “coyotes” to smuggle them into this country, the can be killed, raped, tortured and/or held for ransom:

They’re known to beat and torture victims while family members listen on the telephone. The torment continues for as long as it takes to get the money, until hostages die from their injuries, or—in the rare instance—until the police burst in and free them.

...

Kidnappers kick and punch hostages, beat them with baseball bats, submerge them in bathtubs and electrically shock them, burn their flesh with blowtorches, smash their fingers with bricks, slice their bodies with butcher knives, shoot them in their arms and legs, and cut open their backs with wire-cutters. The kidnappers usually video-tape the sexual humiliation and violence and send the images to family members if ransoms aren’t paid.

The authorities are doing their best to crack down on it, but they are fighting a losing battle against the tide of illegal immigrants.  And laws like Arizona’s 1070 are making the problem worse by diverting resources and keeping illegals from going to the police for fear of deportation:

Besides, law enforcement authorities, including Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris, think 1070 will make it even harder for cops to do their jobs. Already, the victims of smugglers are reluctant to report crimes to police. If all of 1070 goes into effect, even more violent crime will operate under the radar of law enforcement.

The Pearce-inspired statute, many cops say, will only make departments, particularly Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s, go after law-abiding illegal aliens (maids, gardeners, tree trimmers, restaurant workers) all the more, leaving violent smugglers to carry on as usual.

Of course, the thing that has driven illegals into the arms of the coyotes is the lack of an easy legal way to get into this country for temporary or seasonal work.  Faced with violence and poverty in Mexico, they do what any human being in his right mind would do—try to go somewhere better.  But going somewhere better in a legal way involves massive paperwork, oceans of time and big piles of money—all to be most likely denied in the end.

U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, the federal agency that processes U.S. permanent residency applications, is just now working on applications filed in 1994 by Mexican nationals seeking visas or green cards. These people who followed the rules have already waited 16 years.

Federal law allows 26,260 people from Mexico to receive visas each year. There are more than 1.1 million Mexicans on a waiting list.

What would you do in their situation?  If you could not find work and you had a family to feed?  What would you do?

Stories like this are one of the biggest reasons I am strongly in favor of immigration reform.  Not amnesty—people who broke the law should not be the first to get legal status—but a massive overhaul of the system. The cornerstone of this has to be a program to make it easy for people to come into this country for temporary or seasonal work (a guest worker program by any other name).  My justification of this is below the fold.

When it comes to immigration, most people’s priority is to “seal the border”.  Whether this is wise or not, I’m dubious that it’s even possible. Penn and Teller demonstrated that it takes minutes for illegals to tunnel under, cut through or climb over a border fence.  We have a very very long border with Mexico and our attempts to seal the border are always and must be reactive—responding to new ways people find to get in after they’re already here.

And, as this article demonstrates, I don’t think sealing the border is a wise policy.  So far, our attempts have not decreased the flow of immigrants at all while spawning this kind of violence in our cities.  Our attempts to seal the border in the 90’s led directly to the coyote situation—we forced people to immigrate through the Sonora desert, thinking it would dissuade them.  It didn’t; it simply pushed them into the arms of smugglers.  I’m reminded forcibly of the War on Drugs. Criminalization breeds violence; violence is used to justify “getting tough”; getting tough spawns more violence; lather rinse repeat.

No, the first step in fixing our immigration problem has to be the creation of a guest worker program—a way for people to easily, cheaply and legally come into this country for temporary or seasonal work.  Such a system would work the problem, producing gigantic immediate benefits:

1) It would stem the flow of illegals across our border by shunting the otherwise law-abiding into the guest worker system. This would make it much easier to seal the borders.  Think of it as diverting the river before you damn it.

2) It would shift millions of immigrants from violent coyotes to safe border guards and immigration officials, depriving drug gangs and other thugs of money, victims and smugglers.

3) It would make it easier for people to leave their families in Mexico, since they know they will be going back.  This would alleviate the mythical “anchor baby” problem while giving Mexicans an incentive to improve their own country.

4) It could raise revenue.  If people are willing to pay coyotes $1700 to smuggle them into this country, will they not be willing to pay $1000 to come in legally?  Or $500?  We could be talking about a few billion in revenue, enough to help fund the border patrol and pay for the necessary bureaucracy.

5) Call it the Law of iTunes: when you make it relatively easy to obey the law, people will obey it rather than break it.  When businesses can hire immigrants above board, when immigrants can work without fear, that creates a massive incentive to obey the law.  Illegal immigration will never completely vanish.  But this would reduce it dramatically and allow us to concentrate our efforts on people we really really don’t want in this country—like violent psychotic criminals.

6) Part (5) will have the side effect of sending illegals currently in this country back to Mexico.  Once there is an easy legal way to hire immigrants for temporary work, the labor market for illegals will dry up.  Without work, many will head back to Mexico to get in line.

7) With workers properly documented, this will make it much harder for them to vote in our elections or collect social benefits.

This will never happen in our political system.  The Democrats are too busy pandering to the Latino vote and too stupid to explain why this would benefit all Latins in the long run.  They also, I think, are nervous about losing illegal votes.  Republicans will never support it because it’s not thuggish enough.  They’ve invested too much rhetoric into “get tough” policies to back down and too interested in screaming “amnesty!” anytime reform is proposed.

Consider the furor caused recently when a Republican senator released a White House internal memo outlining some administrative actions available to the president to address immigration issues now, instead of waiting for comprehensive reform to make it through Congress.

It had conservative groups and politicos up in arms, claiming President Barack Obama is attempting to grant amnesty to every illegal immigrant in the country. In reality, the suggestions in the memo ran along the lines of possibly allowing immigrants to attain legal status if their spouse, parents, or children are U.S. citizens serving in the military.

George W. Bush, to his lasting credit, never played that game and was a big advocate of a guest worker problem.  It was also one of the few issues his party rebelled over.

But ... I think it will happen one day.  The one thing I’ve learned about politics is that Winston Churchill was right.  The quote is of dubious origin, but he supposedly said that American would always do the right thing after exhausting all other possibilities.  Eventually, we will have a guest worker program.  When we simply have no other choice.  I’m guessing the driving factor will be the enormous cost of maintaining our current immigration regime in the face of catastrophic debt.

Until then, we can expect more horror stories to emerge from the border.  And more calls to get tough.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/12/10 at 11:17 AM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by AlexinCT on 08/12/10 at 01:39 PM from United States

What would you do in their situation?  If you could not find work and you had a family to feed?  What would you do?

Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I would start by trying to reform my own country. Barring that I would seek a legal means to go somewhere else. However, if I am forced to break the law to help them, I should not expect those I wrong doing that to feel any sympathy towards me after the fact.

BTW, do you know that Mexico has harsh rules and enforcement against other such less fortunate people in a similar bind that violate their immigration laws? If you are from some other central or south American country and you illegally go to Mexico – to find a job and feed your poor family or not – you are going to be treated worse than a criminal.

Stories like this are one of the reason I am strongly in favor of immigration reform.  Not amnesty—people who broke the law should not be the first to get legal status—but a massive overhaul of the system.

Oh please, Hal. The system is broken on purpose. Forget the fact that like everything done by dysfunctional government, the military occasionally being the exception, it is doomed to always fail. No matter how they try to fix this it will end up being run by the same geniuses working at the DMV, the Post Office, or - dare I say it - the INS or ICE or whatever the hell they call it these days. There has been plenty of opportunity to fix it. In fact, the last time they convinced Reagan to go along and allow them to hand out citizenships to the illegal horde, they got it by promising to fix immigration. Here we are a couple of decades later, and both the horde and the process are just worse. And the left will never go for your guest worker program because it files in the face of the real agenda.

I have people I know in countries ranging from Mexico to India that have been trying now for years to get here legally, only to be blocked and obfuscated by a bureaucratic nightmare and the usual incompetence we come to expect form public servants, while those that could care less about the legal system and the sovereignty of America are being given a pass. Our government is purposefully blocking people that are interested in becoming Americans in favor of those that they believe share their destructive ideological beliefs.

You can bet your arse that whatever overhaul promises they make will not happen. All we will end up with is a large chunk of people that are breaking our laws rewarded with citizenship and government handouts as long as they can be made to vote for demcorats. Reform the system to make it easier for good people that follow the law and want to be Americans to come here first, and make it hell on those here legally so they go back home. After a decade or so, when we see this new system works well, we can worry about the illegals. I am sure however, that by then those here illegally now will likely have moved back home, and if they still want to come so desperately, they then should be able to then get in.

Until then, we can expect more horror stories to emerge from the border.  And more calls to get tough.

Correct me if I am wrong, but if they were not breaking the law and coming here illegally - necessitating the need to interact and expose themselves to evil people (practically always other Mexicans) - there would be no border horror stories, right? Methinks the solution is obvsious.

Posted by on 08/12/10 at 03:18 PM from United States

What would you do in their situation?  If you could not find work and you had a family to feed?  What would you do?

Whatever I had to do.  This is the heart of illegal immigration - people with sufficient opportunity to provide for themselves don’t smuggle themselves into another country for work.

For example, when’s the last time you heard about someone from Singapore sneaking into the country to do low-level labor?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/12/10 at 06:04 PM from United States

Much of the violence and corruption was created by the drug war. Follow the advice of people like former Mexican president Vicente Fox and much of that problem could be solved right there.

Posted by on 08/12/10 at 07:55 PM from United States

But ... I think it will happen one day.  The one thing I’ve learned about politics is that Winston Churchill was right.  The quote is of dubious origin, but he supposedly said that American would always do the right thing after exhausting all other possibilities.

Sure, Americans will, but aren’t we run by a Kenyan? 

Seriously ... I don’t know.  There’s a lot of political hay to be made by doing nothing.

Posted by HARLEY on 08/12/10 at 08:01 PM from United States

What would you do in their situation?  If you could not find work and you had a family to feed?  What would you do?

As many have done when their national government did not serve the needs of the people it governed. REVOLUTION!

Posted by on 08/12/10 at 08:25 PM from United States

As resident of the city being discussed, I feel obligated to opine:

The Village Voice has an enragifying article on kidnapping in Phoenix.  You really should read the whole thing.

These brutalities have been going on for years and the reported kidnappings probably only account for a fraction of the actual kidnappings as most victims likely pay the randsom and are released.

What really gets me about this is that these crimes are not being perpetrated by ruthless white robber barrons trying to exploit others in the heartless name of greed (as the Left would love to believe), these are Mexican criminal organizations preying on the weakest and most desperate of THEIR OWN FUCKING PEOPLE. I also find it sadly amusing that there really has never been any urgency among the Hispanic activist groups to really take any concrete measures to curtail this… Even before the 1070 drama, they were firmly entrenched in the Democrat priority of securing amnesty for a large block of future voters, while while ignoring the pesky human rights issue staring them right in the face.

This is, in part, what has fueled the anger that lead to 1070: Arizona has had a long history of coexisting with Mexicans of dubious legal documentation, but now it feels like the wheels are coming off the wagon. While not making national headlines, these types of stories are very common out here… Drop houses with 30-35 victims being held for randsom. There are also stories about coyotes hijacking each other’s loads, deputies getting shot by well-armed smugglers and of course the rancher murdered on his own land.

Truth be told, unless you are living in a poor barrio, you never really see the ugly, violent side of illegal immigration out here, but the stories are real enough to scare people and create a sense of lawlessness as the incidents of violence get more brazen (FYI: The Mexican Mob has allegedly put bounties on both Maricopa and Pinal County sheriffs). There is a feeling that it’s only a matter of time before the extreme violent tactics used south of the border finally spill over here. I know that is probably a little irrational due to the difference in US and Mexican law enforcement, but understand that Arizonans have grown up driving to Mexico to shop, vacation, etc. Now, those places are war zones (specifically referencing Nogales & Puerto Penasco). These are places that average Arizonans are familiar with and can relate to.

FWIW: Unless you are a poor mexican, or are using or selling meth, Phoenix is a pretty damn safe city.

Posted by on 08/12/10 at 09:53 PM from United States

Hal, which country will you and your family be illegally immigrating to when the American teat has been sucked dry and we are left with nothing but a third world shithole like the one these victims have fled?
Yanno, when this government runs out of other peoples money? Perhaps we can raise money from ‘Cap and Trade’.

You and The Fonz be careful around that shark now.

Posted by Miguelito on 08/13/10 at 06:04 AM from United States

these are Mexican criminal organizations preying on the weakest and most desperate of THEIR OWN FUCKING PEOPLE.

That pretty much describes Mexico itself. If it weren’t such a shit hole for the vast majority of people living there in the first place, there wouldn’t be such a huge desire to come north.  I always love how we in the US are the ones expected to fix all the problems when the people of Mexico (and most countries south of us) could do a hell of a lot more for the world if they would clean up heir own countries.

Posted by AlexinCT on 08/13/10 at 06:26 AM from United States

That pretty much describes Mexico itself. If it weren’t such a shit hole for the vast majority of people living there in the first place, there wouldn’t be such a huge desire to come north.

This…

Posted by Akula on 08/13/10 at 06:32 AM from United States

But going somewhere better in a legal way involves massive paperwork, oceans of time and big piles of money—all to be most likely denied in the end.

Actually, it is literally impossible for most Mexicans to ever immigrate legally.

There are four ways to immigrate permanently into this country. Have immediate family here (children, parents, siblings, spouse) that are already citizens or permanent residents. Have a valuable job skill that is in short supply. Have an assload of money. Win the annual Visa lottery.

A handful of them may meet the first criteria. None them meet the second or third or they wouldn’t be so desperate to immigrate in the first place. And only certain nationalities qualify for the Visa lottery - Mexican is not one.

It’s easy for idiots to say “do it legally.” They don’t understand that it is not possible to do it legally.

Posted by on 08/13/10 at 08:30 AM from United States

It’s easy for idiots to say “do it legally.” They don’t understand that it is not possible to do it legally.

Maybe some of the people saying “do it legally” aren’t actually idiots, but rather people who think that the legal path to citizenship is too damn long, complex, expensive, confusing, etc.  Right now, the risk+effort/reward equation is heavily skewed by the effort part of the process.  Make it easier to get here legally and more will come legally.

Posted by on 08/13/10 at 09:51 AM from United States

It’s easy for idiots to say “do it legally.” They don’t understand that it is not possible to do it legally.

As a sovereign state we get to make those rules as complex and difficult as we want.  Anyone who wants to come here needs to abide by the rules that we set up or risk getting kicked out or jailed. 

If we were serious about illeagal immigrants we would crack down on employers.  Enact a $10,000 a day fine for anyone who employs an illeagal (regardless of whether the employer had knowledge of their status) and stage a few high profile prosecutions (including a few nanny employers and a few people picking up day laborers at Home Depot).  Presto, no one wants to hire illeagals and they will mostly go home.  And suddenly there would be 10 million or so job openings in this country that could be filled by US citizens and legal residents.

Posted by on 08/13/10 at 10:56 AM from United States

I’m not sure a black-market economy of cheap labor can be swapped out that easily, but I’d like to see it given a shot.

As for the doing things legally, it’s a royal pain based on what my wife’s family has told me.  Funny thing about legal immigrants - as a general rule they hate illegals and want them all run out of the country.

Posted by on 08/13/10 at 01:10 PM from United States

If we didn’t have a minimum wage for guest workers it could be swapped out pretty easily.  Besides, they could be here legally and still work under the table.

Posted by AlexinCT on 08/13/10 at 01:34 PM from United States

There are four ways to immigrate permanently into this country. Have immediate family here (children, parents, siblings, spouse) that are already citizens or permanent residents. Have a valuable job skill that is in short supply. Have an assload of money. Win the annual Visa lottery.

We currently want people that immigrate here to be able to support their existence, because most of us agree that the alternative – a collectivist system that pays people that come to live here while they do nothing like the Europeans do - is a disaster in the making. Look at California and how it is sinking. And a big part of their financial woes is because they basically provide services to illegals. I think that if you are going to come here the minimum we can demand is that you integrate, work hard and support yourself and your family, and that you do not become a burden on the rest of us here. Especially when we already have so many natives that already subsist on government stealing from the productive to buy their votes.

I do want to point out that I have a friend in Mexico that is a very skilled developer and in demand, hat simply can not get through the massive bureaucracy and bullshit that the government throws at him. So even the skilled and capable people seem to be getting screwed by the system as it exists right now.

I also think that’s why Hal pointed out that there should be a jobs program, like Bush wanted, to accommodate the people that will work but can’t meet the current immigration standards.

The down side is that in the end any and all systems will be run by government, and we all know how efficient and effective that’s going to be. Maybe the answer here lies in removing the actual work involved from government employees?

It’s easy for idiots to say “do it legally.” They don’t understand that it is not possible to do it legally.

If the system doesn’t allow them to do it legally there is a reason, and you will certainly find politicians and special interest behind that reason. Whatever those reasons may be though, they don’t make those against illegal immigration idiots. It does however make those that want to paint the people that do not want to reward people that break our laws and come here illegally as idiots, out to be idiots. And just because our immigration system blocks certain people, it doesn’t excuse those that try to come here illegally despite the fact the system basically excluded them, either.

I can live with a worker program. I certainly can not live with the plan that the left has to expedite the destruction of all the things that made America exceptional on the path to their “Brave New World”, by nationalizing what they hope will be a new voting block to perpetually keep them in power.

Funny thing about legal immigrants - as a general rule they hate illegals and want them all run out of the country.

After you have suffered the injustices and tyrannical ways of a bunch of stupid power tripping government employees for sometimes more than 5 years to finally come here and live the American dream, you tend to get pissed by those that cut corners, doubly so when the political class wants to reward them for doing the wrong thing as seems to be the SOP of leftist politics, I guess?

Posted by Hal_10000 on 08/13/10 at 07:51 PM from Australia

Hal, which country will you and your family be illegally immigrating to when the American teat has been sucked dry and we are left with nothing but a third world shithole like the one these victims have fled?

Australia.

My wife is from Australia—it’s where I am now.  And getting her legally into the country was a royal pain the ass despite my wife:

1) having zero black marks on her record.
2) being a citizen of a country that, at the time, was fighting with us in Iraq.
3) doing ground-breaking research into cancer and high blood pressure.

It involved thousands of dollars of expense, long waits, piles of papers and even then, it was touch and go.  The DHS people, I must say, were extremely nice and as helpful as they could be.  When we were missing one piece of paper, our DHS employee stayed late to make sure our file was finished so she could get a Green Card.  I think they are very capable of running a guest worker program.  But Hayes is right, there literally is no path for the low skilled.

Posted by on 08/14/10 at 09:14 PM from United States

You have my sincere wish she is not kidnapped, or you if you decide to stay.

See the difference?

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