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Thursday, December 23, 2004
  Holidays Inspire a Rush to the Border
The New York Times > National > Holidays Inspire a Rush to the Border: "A toddler was found last month stuffed in a pi�ata. The smugglers were let go, border patrol agents said.

'The border is broken, Mexico is broken, the immigration policy is broken, and you can see it right now at Christmas time on the border,' said George E. McCubbin, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing 10,000 border patrol agents.

'These people you see now going home, we'll be chasing in a month,' Mr. McCubbin said. 'And the smuggling business has gotten so lucrative and ruthless it puts our agents at risk of being killed.'

Though 2,000 border patrol agents will be added over the next five years, they do not address the reason immigrants come illegally, he said, adding, 'We have to have the will to go after the employers.'

With the Mexican economy faltering and Mexicans believing that the Bush administration will offer blanket amnesty to illegal immigrants, more people entered the United States illegally last year than any other since Sept. 11, 2001. Officials estimate that three million people entered the United States illegally last year, a majority of them Mexican.

The business of smuggling people has become so lucrative that drug-style cartels are in the game. As a consequence, murder and kidnapping have skyrocketed in Phoenix, the main hub of the smuggling business. An illegal crossing costs upward of $2,000.

'Stand on the border around Christmas and you'll see what a joke the immigration policy is,' Mr. McCubbin said.

Not all news is bad on the border. In a ceremony on Monday, 90 wild parrots smuggled into the United States were repatriated to Mexico, a gift from the American government."
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