Category Archives: Immigration

The Kidnapping Capital

Cross-posted from the other site.

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.

Continue reading The Kidnapping Capital

Wednesday Linkorama

With commentary!

  • Let it not be said that the Democrats oppose tax cuts. They just prefer that tax cuts be reserved for their guys. What?
  • Matt Welch takes apart Andrew Sullivan on the “cash for clunkers” program. As I commented on the other site, I was sympathetic to this program initially, but the commentary from Edmunds (hardly a right-wing thinktank) and the notation that this will mainly keep poor people from buying old cars has turned me against it. Remember when government programs vomiting out tons of unaccountable cash was a bad thing? Sigh. I miss 1987.
  • So much for Obama lightening up on immigration. Wait! It must be a secret communist conspiracy to establish Republica del Norte!
  • I never thought I’d praise Pat Leahy. But there you go.
  • Yet another triumph of our “education system”. At some point, the Democrats are going to pay and pay big for mindlessly backing the unions. It’s a genuflection that makes the Bush Administration’s cow-towing to Big Oil look almost principled.
  • Safe Immigration

    Oh, Neal Boortz and the anti-immigration hysterics are going to hate this.Cities with high numbers of immigrants are safer than those without, including El Paso, which should be a violent cesspool. And I’m convinced that the causal arrow is pointed in the right direction since immigrants have a lower overall crime rate than “real” Americans.

    Boy. Don’t you just hate it when facts get in the way. Stupid sexy facts.

    Tuesday Afternoon Linkorama

  • I missed the report that food and obesity are giving us cancer. Turns out, I didn’t miss anything. It’s garbage.
  • Why an “energy Manhattan plan” is a bad idea. Read the whole thing.
  • Want do donate toys to kids? Or kids to toys for that matter? Be sure to bring your lawyer.
  • 35 million hungry Americans, say the Fetus Whisperer. Garbage says the Department of Agriculture.
  • Shame on Princess Cruise Lines. They all do this. My wife and I got quite nervous about our honeymoon. That’s why we booked our own airfare rather than go through their travel agency slime engine. I just wish they ID’d the woman so people could give her money for an actual trip — on someone other than Princess
  • Illegal immigrants are gobbling up our health care! Nope. Let’s see if Boortz or Hannity link to this study.
  • Friday Morning Linkorama

  • I haven’t commented much on immigration on this site, since it seems to me everyone involved is using the issue to grind unrelated axes. But you have to grin at this story. A town in New Jersey outlawed illegal immigrants and..

    With the departure of so many people, the local economy suffered. Hair salons, restaurants and corner shops that catered to the immigrants saw business plummet; several closed. Once-boarded-up storefronts downtown were boarded up again.


  • One of the big breakthroughs in my political thinking was realizing when people were cherry-picking the facts. Cato has a classic example. Supporters of NCLB are crowing about the improving test scores of 4th and 8th graders. Ignored? The ongoing plunge of high school seniors.
  • Some people are actually interested in having a good debate on healthcare. In this corner, we have Michael Cannon and in this one Jesse Larner, who was kind enough to e-mail me after I disagreed with him over at Moorewatch.
  • An interesting article at The Economist explains why France’s healthcare system works to the extent that it does. Big reason? Medical school is paid for and lawsuits are rare.
  • Illegal Criminals

    Remember how illegal aliens are supposed to committing all these violent crimes?

    Um, not so much:

    Using the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Censuses, we show that 18-40 year-old male immigrants have lower institutionalization rates than the native born in each year. The gap in these institutionalization rates widens over the decades, and by 2000 immigrants have institutionalization rates that are one-fifth of the native born.

    Let’s see if the anti-immigrant hysterics acknowledge this. Don’t hold your breath.

    Post Mortem

    The immigration bill seems dead — although you never know in Washington. I didn’t think it was a bad bill. Some realistic border enforcement (no expensive useless pork projects walls) and perhaps a two-year window for illegals to get their act in shape before serious enforcement begins: it would have gone through.

    What surprised me was the viciousness of the Right. Illegal aliens became the new gays; nothing was too vile to say about them. The Daily Show had a panoply of “conservatives” saying illegals were bringing TB and leprosy while molesting our kids and robbing our banks. All of this was crap, of course.

    I think what happened was that the conservatives finally lost it. This wasn’t really about the illegals. They were simply caught in the crossfire of a Republican conniption fit. Bush’s supporters — his few remaining supporters — had seen him trample over states’ rights, limited government, individual liberty, federal restraint and any other true conservative principle you can nominate. And they finally lost it. Now that he’s a lame duck, they felt free to let go of the frustration that’s been building for six years.

    Well that and that Bush’s supporters — his few remaining supporters — are the most extreme wing of the party.

    Friday Linkorama

    North Carolina has a shortage of illegal immigrants:

    “Americans today don’t want to sweat and get their hands dirty,” said Doug Torn, who owns a wholesale nursery in Guilford County. “We have a choice. Do we want to import our food or do we want to import our labor?”

    No, we don’t need tort reform. It should be perfectly fine to sue someone for $54 million because he lost your pants. I know this story has gotten a lot of ink. But I hadn’t heard about it and every sentence of the article enrages me.

    The Democrats have a plan to raise taxes past 100%. Al Gore had a similar plan. But it’s overtaxing the “rich”, so that’s OK

    Immigration Panic

    I only tend to write about Boortz when he hacks me off. Well, today is more of that. He links to a bunch of posts that do nothing but talk panic about immigration.

    National Review says immigrants are taking our jobs. This is the same article that tells us George W. Bush has single-handedly dropped unemployment to record lows.

    Kris Kobach has a conniption because these incompetent terrorists with their dumbass plots were immigrants. Again, how is keeping immigrants away going to stop someone flying a plane from Havana to Miami with a bomb?

    And there’s panic because Bush may temporarily suspend the new passport requirement for Americans to go to Mexico and Canada. I’m not sure how keeping Americans out of Mexico and Canada is going to stop terrorism.

    More bullshit. Can’t we just agree to make it harder to get in this country illegally while making it easier to get in legally? Or would that not sooth the xenophobes?

    Bits and Pieces

    Rather than write one big immigration post, maybe I’ll just let out bits and pieces as I respond to others’ bullshit:

    The labor market (and health inspectors) would no longer determine who came here; quotas were imposed on immigration from specific countries to reflect the ethnic composition of the nation in 1890. The apparatus of state was strong enough to enforce these restrictions, and, in any case, there was no market demand for immigrants during the depression of the 1930s and no way for them to come during World War II.

    This is laughable, especially coming from a conservative. Had there been no market for immigrants, the government wouldn’t have needed to act. And this policy led, indirectly, to the deaths of millions in the concentration camps when America refused to admit Jews in a wave of xenophobia.

    Then there’s Boortz:

    Strengthen the borders and make Americans get off their lazy butts, turn off American Idol, get off of welfare and fill the demand of these market forces.

    Unemployment in this country is about 4%, which is extraordinarily low.

    Then there’s Peggy Noonan:

    Should all legal immigration stop? No. We should make a list of what our nation needs, such as engineers and nurses, and then admit a lot of engineers and nurses. We should take in what we need to survive and flourish.

    Again, a Right Winger is saying that government should decide what our economy needs, rather than the market. We do need skilled people. But we also need low-wage workers.

    Of course, one way to diminish the need for low wage workers would be to diminish the agricultural subsidies which keep unprofitable businesses going. In many ways, it could be argued that illegal immigration is simply another business subsidy.