Border jumping into the USA

Two anecdotal reports on migration in the Borderlands. Over Thanksgiving dinner, my brother in law, who works on large ranches throughout far south Texas, told me of seeing three illegal immigrants walking past him the other day. They were neatly dressed young men headed north to find work. It was clear to him they didn't read the papers or listen to the radio because they weren't prepared for rainstorms scheduled to hit the area later than day. So my brother in law gave them three ponchos he had in his truck and some apples. He figured they needed them more than he did. He could tell they were surprised at his largesse and that he didn't call the authorities. For people in the Valley, immigrants are a way of life, legal or illegal.

The previous week, two groups of Brazilians had been apprehended by Border Patrol agents in the Valley, signaling another new immigrant group using the Texas-Mexico border as a conduit for seeking opportunity. 9-11 did not shut down the border. It just gave the government more reasons to buy aircraft, trucks, radar and motion-detectors , hire more personnel, and look vigilant in this cat-and-mouse game that will never be won. I guess that's why US 77 from Brownsville to Corpus was crawling with patrol cars every five miles or so. But even a wall won't keep people out when they're desperate for jobs and a better life.

The Border Patrol checkpoints near Falfurrias on US 281 and Sarita on US 77 have become bigger and more organized with more lanes, more inspectors and more drug dogs. It's an accepted way of life now for citizens in the Rio Grande Valley to have to endure a border checkpoint fifty miles north of the border. Whether or not such checkpoints are effective is a debatable point. But they sure look sufficiently impressive and imposing, even to those of us who are citizens.

It reminds me what a native of Starr County, said to be a big drug and human cargo transit point told me years ago. "My people have lived on both side of the Rio Grande since before there was a United States or a Mexico. If someone on the other side needed something, we got it to them. Now these governments say we can't do that. I say we can and we will, until we get caught. Then we'll do it again."

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