Try this on. The Boeing Company company gets over $20 million from the U.S. Government for the construction of a 28 mile "virtual fence" along the Mexican border in Arizona. About two months after Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff announces his "acceptance" of the fence, the Government announced it is scrapping the project. Why?.....Well, it doesn't work.
From the Huffington Post, "Although the fence continues to operate, it hasn't come close to meeting the Border Patrol's goals, said Kelly Good, deputy director of the Secure Border Initiative program office in Washington." Maybe the fact that the Border Patrol had minimal input in the design and development of the project might have had something to do with it's failure. Arizona elected "officials" have used colorful words to describe Boeing's debacle. Words like, "disgrace," "a boondoggle," or just a "fiasco."
Boeing keeps the cash, we get the "The virtual fence that is virtually useless." (U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California) However, the reality is this, Boeing's paltry $20 mill is chump change in the current exchange rate of "uninvited border visits." Let me tell you a story about a friend of mine I bumped into a few weeks ago..........
Let's just call him Jorge, it's not his real name but I promised, for obvious reasons, that I would keep his personal details anonymous. I have written about first hand illegal border crossings in the past but this story is not just about Jorge's travels from a small town in the Yucatan Peninsula to lovely Los Angeles, California. This bit is a combination of "The Amazing Race" and "Show me the money."
Jorge's journey starts in the Yucatan city of Merida, it's there that he hops on a plane, destination Tijuana, just a couple of miles away from the "goal." As they say, "so close but soooooooooooo far." You see, Jorge is about to return to the United States for another "tour of duty." You know how it goes, armed with a $60 counterfeit "green card" and some one's Social Security number, he gets a couple of jobs, shares an apartment (usually two to a room) and sends most of the money he earns home to Mexico. Jorge is an illegal immigrant, he doesn't have a visa or an invitation from any government official. He is coming the way most illegals come.........Jorge has hired a "coyote", a unofficial Mexican tour guide who promises for the paltry sum of $3000 to deliver him to Simi Valley, California. He doesn't want to immigrate nor become a citizen. His concept of the "American Dream" is to save as much money as he can in a year or two and go back to Mexico, meet the woman of his dreams, get married and have some kids. And hopefully build a house for his new family.
Those two forty hour a week jobs he takes will only pay the prevailing minimum wage. These are jobs that Americans would happily take if they paid enough to support a family, but since $8.00 an hour is well below the poverty level, it will be left to our "southern visitors" to wash our cars and cook our burgers and do all the "stuff" we might find demeaning. Of course, his employers know that his papers are phony, BUT THEY HAVE PHOTO COPIES should anyone ask, and the fact that five of their employees happen to live at the same house, well, hell, that's just a coincidence!............But let's get back to Jorge's travel itinerary.
Upon his arrival in Tijuana, Jorge heads for the predetermined hotel where he is to meet his "coyote's representative." There he finds his 38 other traveling companions huddled together waiting for further instructions. (I have a mental picture of a very Japanese like tour group minus the ever present flag on a stick. ("BUS NUMBER EIGHT, PEESE!") However, the actual reality is that 39 people are climbing on a city bus heading for the border town of Tecate, Mexico. Instead of stopping in the city itself, this bus rumbled on though the bustling home of Tecate beer, out to the countryside where the vehicle came to an abrupt stop. It is here that the"tour" actually begins. At 2:00 in the afternoon, everyone is given a bottle of water and told to sit and wait for instructions. About two hours later, the coyote speaks to the waiting throng................"We, are leaving now, stay together, don't get lost, we wait for no one." And, just like that, 39 human beings, men, women and children began running in the direction of the U.S. border. In broad daylight, (It is now the practice to go during daylight hours to avoid any thermal imaging gismos), they run, just like Forrest, run Jorge, run! And for three hours they run until they stumble upon a highway. A highway in California. Asphalt is quickly crossed as the exhusted group "bunkers in" and attempts to blend into the landscape.
4/10/2008. The Associated Press: LOS ANGELES—Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is asking federal officials to rethink their policy on workplace immigration crackdowns that involve established businesses and to focus on employers that mistreat workers instead.
The mayor said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that work-site raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement could have "severe and long-lasting effects" on the local economy, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
A very, very nervous and tired Jorge waited with his compatriots in the ditch on the side of the road for about 2 1/2 hours when suddenly a box truck pulled to the side of the freeway and in an instant all 39 were loaded in the truck and back on the road. After a short ride, Jorge felt the truck slow to a stop and the door thrown open and he saw that he was in the front of a house. Quickly, everyone was removed from the truck and paired of in three's and four's and hustled into waiting cars. In a matter of moments, these "taxi's" were hightailing it out of the Imperial Valley on their way to the relative safety of Santa Ana.
Upon arrival, all passengers were given a hamburger and a soda, a few minutes to enjoy their lunch before being assigned to ANOTHER CAR. This car will drive Jorge right to his place of residence, just like the Airport Super Shuttle.......but, with a catch......It's time to pay. Jorge must cough up the $3000 cash or face severe consequences. End of the line, trip completed, everybody is happy. Neither the beefed up Border Patrol, nor the National Guard, or any wanna-be Minute Men, not even the fear of the Great Wall of the Mexican Border was remotely successful in keeping these 39 from joining the management ranks at your local fast food emporium.
Let's talk money, do the math. Thirty-nine times $3000 comes out to $117,000. Jorge told me that the day before he began his journey, the same guys "escorted" ninety bodies across the border, that amounts to $270,000. Not a bad night's take for any business. There has been a ongoing and constant discussion about the pros and cons of illegal immigrants. But scratch the surface just a little and you will find it's all about money. Mexican corruption and horrible wages have forced the Mexican poor in a race to our borders. The "coyotes" have turned a cottage industry into a multimillion profit center earned off the backs of their brothers. On this side of the border, the "good guy business men" are either outsourcing American jobs to Mexico and the rest of the Third World, or KNOWINGLY hiring cheap "illegal immigrants" to do work here. Should employers ever decide to pay all employes a "living wage" it would be a giant step in solving this problem. Will that ever happen? Of course not.
"The Minutemen, the vigilante group that's on the border, they gave Bush an ultimatum. They said, 'Either you build a wall along the border, Mr. President, or we will.' I say let them try, because if there's one thing that will change your mind about immigration, it's trying to build a 2,000-mile fence without the help of Mexicans." --Bill Maher