National Guard Scares off Illegals


June 15, 2006, 01:57 PM

SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Mexico -- The arrival of U.S. National Guard troops in Arizona has scared off illegal Mexican migrants along the border as a whole, significantly reducing crossings, according to U.S. and Mexican officials.

U.S. authorities said Monday that detentions along the U.S.-Mexico border have decreased by 21 percent, to 26,994, in the first 10 days of June, compared with 34,077 for the same period a year ago.

Along the Arizona border, once the busiest crossing spot, detentions have dropped 23 percent, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

The desert region's blistering June temperatures typically drive down the number of migrants, but not so drastically, said Mario Martinez, a spokesman with the U.S. Border Patrol in Washington.

The 55 soldiers who arrived June 3 are the first of some 6,000 troops to be gradually dispatched all along the border as part of President Bush's plan to stem illegal immigration to the United States.

The soldiers aren't allowed to detain migrants and have been limited to projects like extending border fences and repairing roads, but the military's presence are keeping would-be crossers away from the area, migrant rights activists said.

"Some migrants have told me they heard about the troops on television and, because the U.S. Army doesn't have a very good reputation, they prefer not to cross," Loureiro said, referring to reports of abuse in Iraq. Others have been discouraged by smugglers' fees that have nearly doubled to more than $3,000.

Loureiro said the shelter was housing about 12 migrants a night, down from about 100.

Jorge Vazquez, coordinator for Mexico's Grupo Beta migrant aid agency in San Luis Rio Colorado, across from San Luis, Ariz., said that before the troops arrived, his agents encountered at least two dozens migrants daily, most waiting for nightfall to begin their trek through the sandy desert.

"There have been days ... when we've found only three migrants," Vazquez said.

Some migrants may be moving to the California-Mexico border, the only stretch of border that saw a spike in detentions, which were up 7 percent to 5,965 in the first 10 days of June.

But it was too early to tell if the deployment would have a permanent effect on migrant routes and crossings of the 2,000-mile border.

Wearing army fatigues and hard hats, the soldiers have worked on projects such as installing vehicle barriers to help prevent smugglers from driving cars full of migrants or drugs across the border.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano has said that 2,500 troops will be stationed in the four U.S. border states _ Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas _ by the end of the month.

The deployment plan has been criticized in Mexico as heavy-handed, and the Mexican government has said it will watch to ensure National Guard troops aren't detaining migrants.

Only the most persistent migrants remained in San Luis Rio Colorado, which sits across from the area patrolled by the U.S. Border Patrol's Yuma station, the busiest of the Patrol's 143 outposts.

Migrants in the region walk some 25 miles through the scrub-covered desert with summer temperatures often exceeding 100 degrees, and then hop on cargo trains to reach their destination.

Laureano Miranda, a 37-year-old farm worker from Mexico's Sinaloa state, said he was trying to get back to a construction job in Los Angeles.

Miranda and six relatives, who were sewing pieces of carpet to their shoes to avoid leaving footprints, planned to wait for nightfall and start walking across the border 25 miles west of where the troops were stationed.

Miranda, who earned about $6 a day picking tomatoes in Sinaloa, said he had heard about the deployment but planned to cross into Arizona anyway.

"If there are soldiers or not it's the same thing, because it's always been difficult to cross," Miranda said. "Here, we depend on our luck."

Miranda said he made it into the United States on the first try last year, but he expected a more difficult journey this time.

"We've heard that there are soldiers and armed 'migrant hunters' but we have to try," Miranda said. "If we don't make it in three tries, then we'll go back home."

if 55 troops can have this much of an effect, just imagine what the full six thousand will do. I was skeptical as to the effect that troops would have on the border. but these results would seem to vindicate all those who are in favor of troop deployment and strong borders detering illegal immigration.

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June 15, 2006, 01:58 PM
Especially if they had loaded weapons and hadn't been told never to use them.

June 16, 2006, 10:32 AM
What are we doing about the other 77 percent????????????chris3

June 16, 2006, 10:35 AM
It might all work until the immigrants figure out the lack of power the Guard has.

Then they will get even bolder and make up for the slight initial decline of numbers.

June 16, 2006, 10:51 AM
Do we think that down in Mexico they aren't aware, through radio and tv, that it's being said they're "scared off" and that our National Guard is there only to provide support services?

This is mostly political spin and what isn't spin is going to be a very temporary effect.

Dave P
June 16, 2006, 10:56 AM
26,994, in the first 10 days of June

Is that right? 3000 illegals per day DETAINED??

June 16, 2006, 11:02 AM
Right, so figure ten thousand "undetained." Do the math. The volume of people entering the U.S. illegally is beyond staggering. That's a flow-through rate of three million a year. (And yet we're told there are as few as eight million illegal aliens in the U.S.--flapdoodle! Try 20 million--and up! They don't want us to know just how bad this problem REALLY is.)

June 16, 2006, 11:41 AM
"Flapdoodle"? That's pretty strong language there Bro!


June 16, 2006, 12:23 PM
The 55 soldiers who arrived June 3 are the first of some 6,000 troops ......

The soldiers aren't allowed to detain migrants......

the U.S. Army doesn't have a very good reputation..........


55 National Guard troops show up, can't touch anybody, and the trend is that some 700/day immigrants decided not to cross.

6000 troops might dissuade as many as 700/55*6000 = 76,000/day not to cross.

BTW - I'll take my chances with the US Army reputation over the Mexican Army any day.

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