Baja Crime Report


The number of crimes in Tijuana regarding robberies in various forms decreased by 5% between January and June 2018, compared to the same period of 2017, but increased 50% and more in crimes and kidnappings, according to the analysis of the crime incidence and police performance carried out by the Public Safety Council of Baja California (Ccspbc).

It is observed that there was an increase of 56% in the total of homicides (one thousand 201 committed against 771 reported in the period from January to June 2017) and 50% in kidnapping (nine registered in 2018, six in 2017).

The aforementioned analysis, according to the information sent to the media, was carried out using data and statistics provided to them by the Public Security Secretariat of the State (SSPE), taken from citizen complaints.

During the first half of the year, according to this analysis, the number of vehicle thefts decreased (19% less), home theft (33% less), theft to commerce (18% less) and robbery in different spaces (17 % less).

As for the analysis made for the month of June, Tijuana turned out to be the municipality of Baja California where more crimes were committed, registering 3 thousand 472, of the 8 thousand 13 crimes in the entity.

It was detected that 75% of the crimes committed in Tijuana are homicide, robberies in their different modalities (vehicle, home, commerce, assault on public roads, banks), illegal deprivation of liberty, driving while intoxicated, injuries, damages in property of another, kidnapping, shooting in the air and carrying a weapon.

In Tijuana, homicide and robbery to commerce with violence are presented in numbers higher than the state average; and of the first there was more incidence in the communities Terrazas del Valle, El Ranchito and 3 de Octubre; while of the second there was more in the Third Stage of the River, El Florido and El Pipila.

The colonies with the highest incidence of crime were the Central Zone, with 62 crimes; Camino Verde, with 32; The Pípila and the Urban Zone Río Tijuana, with 25; Mariano Matamoros Centro and Río Tijuana Third Stage, with 22; Buenos Aires South, El Refugio, Nueva Tijuana and Mariano Matamoros Norte, with 20.

Steal up to 7 vehicles a day

Steal up to 7 vehicles a day
Steal up to 7 vehicles a day

Car theft is the crime of highest incidence.

Steal up to 7 vehicles a day
Steal up to 7 vehicles a day

Luis Miguel Ramírez / EL VIGÍA | Ensenada, BC

Around 7 vehicles a day were stolen during the first semester of the current year in the municipality of Ensenada, an average that has been maintained since last year, according to statistics from the Public Security Secretariat of the State (SSPE).

Based on the number of complaints filed with the State Attorney General’s Office (PGJE), the state corporation reported that in the first six months of 2018, there were recorded robberies of one thousand 251 mobile units.

To date, January continues to be classified as the month with the highest number of robberies this year, when a total of 245 cases reported to the state prosecutor’s office were reported; in May, 211; April, 205; June, 200; March, 199;and February 191.

The biannual balance of 2018 had a decrease of only 4.15 percent, compared to the same period last year, due to the fact that there were thousand 303 stolen vehicles, however, in both years it is the crime with the highest incidence.

On the other hand, the head of the Municipal Public Security Directorate (DSPM), Jorge Íñiguez Díaz, reported that in the urban area of ​​Ensenada up to four thefts of cars a day have been aroused, mostly committed in the early hours.

After the arrest in flagrante del probable “robacarros”, it has been detected that this type of illicit is commonly committed by two people, one of which is responsible for opening the mobile units and stealing them, while the other of vigilante to alert in case of police or citizen presence.

A criminal arrested for the theft of vehicles, they have been surprised in possession of other cars, same used to move, find cars that can steal and flee before the arrival of the authorities.

The head of the local corporation added that in the rural area reports have increased due to the theft of vehicles with violence, committed by people in possession of devices with characteristics similar to those of a firearm.

To conclude, the municipal official added that almost proportional to the number of robberies, vehicles are located and recovered by police during surveillance tours or the attention of citizen reports.


Wine and Tatoo Pairing

El Corcho Rosa/Valle Girl Vino

We love body art and we love our red wine. Come and join us July 28th for the release of our 2015 La Dama Tatuada (the tattooed lady) Show us your ink and get a free drink! Women with ink get a free pour. Men with ink featuring a woman get a free pour. People’s Choice Award for Best Ink takes home a free bottle. Bonus: our tasting area is misted to help us all stay cooooooool.



Junior’s Restaurant


Living on the Punta Banda peninsula, south of Ensenada for more than a decade, made my first visit to Junior’s Restaurant this week.  This plate of beef fajitas was a perfect example of sticking to the Mexican basics, while cooking and serving them with pride.

Junior’s view of the tide pools is panoramic.  Feels like you are in a tree house.

Meet/greet from Alejandro and Mauricio was warm and enjoyed the $1 beers for happy hour.  We asked each other when was the last time you bought a $1 beer.

Calimari appeteazer was served with toms and lettuce.  We asked for the guac and highly recommend that addition to the dish.

Menu is straightforward, on one page and most dishes are 100-200 pesos.  Alejandro, our waiter, proudly stated that they carry 23 brands of beer.

It was a quiet night and Junior’s presented a clean dining room.  Warning to old guys with bad knees like me:  Stair climb is only way to access the dining room.  Someone volunteered a fireman’s carry for me if my knees were not up for the challenge.

Beef torta included a side salad with cilantro dressing

Chili rellenos were tonight’s special and the reason we showed up here.  Complimented Chef Victor on tonight’s food, including the care and prepping the beans with chilis.

Junior’s is located at K8 Carretera La Bufadora, just as you approach the tide pools, south(mountain) side of road.  Noon to 8PM are posted hours.

Rest room was also spotless.  As normal, always carry toilet paper in your Baja rig, as you know you are going to need it somewhere soon.

We give Junior’s four out of five tide pool starfish for atmosphere, food, service and fun.  No, epicures need not visit.  But, if you want Mex basics and a good value, check out Junior’s.

Crime Pays


The probability of a crime being reported, investigated and solved in Mexico is just 1.14%, according to an investigation conducted by the organization Impunidad Cero (Zero Impunity).

At the presentation of the study State Index of the Performance of Attorney Generals’ Offices 2018, researcher Guillermo Zepeda Lecuona explained that the 1.14% figure was obtained through data that shows that only 6.8% of crimes in Mexico are reported and that just 18% of those cases are solved.

Zepeda said the statistics come from surveys conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) in 2017, meaning that they mainly relate to crimes committed and reported in 2016.

The Impunidad Cero index improved slightly compared to the previous results, which showed that the probability of a crime being solved was 1.09%, but Zepeda said the conviction rate is “still very poor” and charged that it is due to a bottleneck in the justice system.

The overall impunity rate in Mexico is almost 99%, while for intentional homicide it is 83.4% and for kidnapping it is 69%.

“The impunity [rate] for kidnapping is the lowest [of high-impact crimes] but it’s still very high for such a serious crime,” Zepeda said.

Oaxaca has the highest impunity rate for intentional homicide in Mexico, at 97%, while Yucatán has the lowest rate at 26%.

Nearly 70% of murders go unpunished in Mexico City, the investigation found.

The Impunidad Cero study showed that Sonora is the most overburdened state in terms of the average number of investigations each prosecutor’s office is conducting at any given time — 544, while filing a complaint takes longest in Guerrero, where the process takes an average of three and a half hours.

In contrast, the same process takes on average just an hour and 25 minutes in Chihuahua, making it the most efficient state in which to file a criminal report. The national average is two and a quarter hours.

Mexico City spends more on law enforcement and the provision of justice than any other state in the country, with an outlay of 696 pesos (US $37) per person, while Tlaxcala spends the least, with per-capita expenditure of just 93 pesos (US $5).

Nevertheless, just 2% of residents in the capital said they had confidence in local judges.

At a national level, 10.3% of people surveyed by Impunidad Cero said they had a high level of confidence in their state’s attorney general’s office, with trust highest in Yucatán at 17.8%.

The investigation also found that only half of arrest warrants issued by judges in state courts are successfully executed.

Coahuila has the best record in that respect, executing 76.5% of all warrants, while Nayarit has the lowest rate at just 12.7%.

When criminals are prosecuted, in 53% of cases they receive prison terms of three years or less, which the Impunidad Cero study said is indicative of “poorly focused criminal policy.”

Irene Arista, executive director of the anti-impunity group, agreed with Zepeda that there is a bottleneck in the justice system, charging that state-based attorney general’s offices are focusing their efforts on achieving political autonomy to the detriment of their core functions.

Desalination Water Cost Unknown

Bajadock: Yes, translation is always fuzzy, but this is baffling.  880,000,000mnp = approx 45 million US Dollars to build the desal plant.  Now that it is completed, we don’t know how much the water will cost.  But, we’re not going to charge more for it.  ???


By Gerardo Sánchez Ensenada, Baja California, July 17.- Although it was officially opened a month ago, it is unknown how much it cost and what will be the rates for the seawater desalination plant, assured the director of the State Water Commission (CEA), Ricardo Cisneros Rodríguez. The state official could not explain precisely why the Development Bank of North America (Bandan) said that the plant cost 987 million pesos, and both the CEA and the National Water Commission, announced that the cost of that work was of 880 million pesos. Questioned about the discrepancies in these figures after participating as an exhibitor at the weekly meeting of the Enshower Group of Ensenada, Cisneros Rodriguez said: “It is a VAT issue, we handle an amount without that tax and the Bandan does, and also updated its costs with the mechanisms provided in the contract according to the consumer price indexes to update the amount, we have not done it, we are waiting for the financial closure, which is where the adjustment mechanisms are applied “. However, the figure publicly managed by the CEA and Conagua, if added VAT does not coincide with that reported by the bank, because the 880 million pesos with 16 percent of the Value Added Tax would add a total of one thousand 20 million pesos, that is, there would be a difference of 33 million pesos with that managed by the Development Bank of North America. Cisneros Rodríguez also did not accurately report the cost of the tariffs at which the desalinated water will be sold to the State Government and said that this will be defined until the financial review of the work is completed. However, he assured that no increase in water rates is contemplated for the industrial, commercial or domestic user of the city of Ensenada.

Border Wall Threatens TJ Homes

Cinthia Soto Esparza and her three-year-old daughter Brittany walk down the path in their enclosed property that has the U.S. border fence as their northernmost wall in the Nido de las Aquilas section of Tijuana. (John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)


From property barriers to wood shacks to cluttered backyard patios, dozens of structures south of the U.S. border fence face demolition as the Trump administration moves forward on its plans to build a taller, stronger wall separating the United States from Mexico.

The issue has arisen as work gets underway on a $147-million U.S. government project to replace about 14 miles of the existing scrap metal border fence between Tijuana and San Diego. The new structure is a bollard-style barrier rising from 18 to 30 feet, topped with an anti-climbing plate and described as “one of the Border Patrol’s top priority projects.”

At the far western end of the project, some 20 property owners in Playas de Tijuana have been ordered by the municipal government to remove structures built so close to the fence that they are deemed to be encroaching on U.S. territory. Farther east in Colonia Libertad, bulldozers already have begun removing trees rising in a residential neighborhood south of the border fence.

At Tijuana’s northeastern edge, residents of the impoverished Nido de las Aguilas neighborhood say they have heard a new wall is coming—and are worried they might lose their houses.

“You might say these boards are ugly, but for us they are everything,” said Beatríz Esparza, a 41-year-old widow who lives in a room built with scrap wood by her late husband next to the fence. “The president of the United States, maybe he has a lot of money, but we are poor.”

Authorities in Mexico do not have a definitive count, but expect the construction of the new U.S. barrier will displace dozens of structures south of the existing fence. These include concrete block walls, wooden shanties, outhouses, patios, animal enclosures—and at least one carport, a tennis court and a shrine with an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe that is attached to the existing wall. Also facing removal are trees and gardens that rise south of the existing barrier.

“The fact that they are on the Mexican side of the wall does not mean that they’re in Mexico,” said Roberto Espinosa. He heads the Tijuana office of the Comisión International de Límites y Aguas, the Mexican counterpart of the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission, a bi-national agency that oversees compliance with water and boundary treaties.

“People think that the fence is the boundary line and that is not so,” Espinosa said.

The existing border fence typically stands some two or three feet inside U.S. territory. The new fencing project will follow the same line as the old one, but it will be larger and heavier, thus requiring removal of any trees and structures in its way, authorities said.

Acting at the request of the Mexican branch of the boundary commission, the city sent out initial notices in April to 20 property owners in the Playas de Tijuana neighborhood. They are all inside a quiet and gated enclave of several dozen houses known as Terrazas de Mendoza that offers sweeping views of Border Field State Park and the Pacific Ocean.

The San Diego Union-Tribune was able to see a notice that informed one owner that her property’s mesh fence, arch-shaped wall and tennis court were “affecting the border line.”

Legally, there should be no construction within 20 meters, about 65 feet of the border, said Leopoldo Guerrero, the second-highest-ranking official at Tijuana City Hall. But authorities say that in this case, they only are asking property owners to clear out structures within one meter of the border fence, to ensure that they are not encroaching on U.S. territory and subject to demolition.

This month, the city has been sending out a second round of notices to these residents. “Right now, it’s a recommendation,” Guerrero said. “We’re telling them, ‘I’m giving you the opportunity to do this and let them work, so that you can’t come back later and complain,” if the structures end up being torn down by the U.S. contractor charged with building the new barrier.

While the issue is flaring up with the construction of the new wall, its origins go back more than a century. Both the U.S. and Mexican sides of the commission in 1906 recommended that their governments establish 60-foot strips along both sides of the international boundary forbidding private residences or similar constructions.

A year later, President Theodore Roosevelt issued a proclamation ordering a 60-foot-wide strip to serve “as a protection against the smuggling of goods between the United States” and Mexico. The parcels “may be used for public highways but for no other purpose whatsoever,” it said.

Mexico took similar action in 1943, with a decree from Mexico’s finance ministry, saying that structures by the boundary line “lend themselves to hiding subjects who are violating the laws of the country due to the easy reach to the borders of other countries.”

In Terrazas de Mendoza last week, one resident who spoke on condition that he not be named said he is being asked to remove two walls that he built to protect his property from smugglers, thieves, and other criminals. “Nobody is watching over this stretch,” said the resident, saying that an open strip will invite crime.

He was not adverse to complying, but disputed the city’s notification process and was not going to respond. “The law says that notifications must be in person, but they left them in mailboxes, with neighbors, with workers who were on their way out,” the resident said.

In Colonia Libertad, longtime resident José Arias faces destruction of a concrete block shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe that memorializes his late wife and son and is attached to the existing border fence. Nearby, bulldozers already have begun pulling down trees to make way for the new construction, and the shrine is expected to come down with the old border fence, as it cannot be separated.

Guerrero, the city official, said authorities are working gradually on notifications as the wall construction progresses — and residents like Juana Nava in Nido de las Aguilas say they have yet to receive word.

On the small plot at the end of Calle Cilantro where she lives with her eight children and three grandchildren, Nava has built a washroom and outhouse right against the wall, and in another spot she has created a shaded patio area with a hammock. Outside her fence of scrap wood, she has planted a garden of nopal cactus.

“I have papers, I have water, I have electricity, look at the post, I’m not lying to you,” said Nava, who earns money cleaning houses. If she has to move, “let them give me what I’ve invested,” she said.

The neighborhood, settled by squatters, for years has been known as a corridor for smugglers, and those who live by the fence say they regularly see people climbing into the United States. But apart from the sounds of U.S. Border Patrol vehicles, residents like Nava say this is a quiet spot.

Standing outside her house near cages of chirping parakeets, Esparza, 41, offered a visitor a glass of water and a seat in the shade as she spoke of her worries.

Since her husband died three years ago, she has lived here with her adolescent son, 21-year-old daughter, and three-year-old granddaughter and the stray dog named Africa they rescued from a nearby dump. Esparza has learned of television reports about the new wall, and fears what could happen.

“They’re just old boards, but it’s our home,” Esparza said of her one-room residence. “I don’t want them to come and destroy what we’ve built with so much sacrifice.”

Billions for Child Migrant Shelters

July 13, 2018 04:41 AM

Updated July 13, 2018 03:40 PM

Frig Wars 3

by staff appliance repair editor, Maynard Maytag 

This is a real photo of my frig.  The view is of the coil that has frozen over because of a faulty fan not circulating air.  It is odd that more frost here actually creates a warm frig chamber, while the freezer section cools properly.

Had the same issue last summer and was fortunate to find a technician who knew how to fix it quickly.  That tech warned me that he was installing a used fan and that it would work for short term.  I should buy a new one asap was his advisory

This is the little guy(approx 4″ x 4″) that fits in the space just above the iced coil(see 3 black rubber pegs).  Ordered it last July.

Have been traveling a lot recently, but, noticed my frig temp warming slightly 2 weeks ago.  Upon return from my trip frig temp was all the way up to 48F.

Great news is that I had served my frig repair apprenticeship last summer.  Boiling water and a hair dryer are key tools for this fix.

Had to figger out a way to rig in the new fan as it did not come with the black rubber connectors.  Pipe cleaners, used for wine glass personal markers, are always a handy household tool and were perfect for attaching the little fan in its tight compartment.

Brimming with machismo I plugged the fan into its wiring socket and…hmmmm.  No hum, no whirling blade, nada!  After 90 minutes of work defrosting and my ez fix is not working?

After a few deep breaths, I plugged in the old fan.  Nada!  WTF?  Did I detach or crush a wire during my ice crushing?

Patience is an amazing thing.  It took the frig a couple of minutes to cycle and the whirring fan blades were a happy sight.

What a great excuse this was to clean my frig shelves and drawers.  But, it did ruin a hair dryer.

One of the most frustrating little details of my frig is reinstalling the two veg/fruit drawers.  What a mouse trap contraption to assemble.

Thrilled to see my interior thermometer read 45F after a few minutes and settling down to 40F after about a half hour.


Immigration Debate Useful Idiots

The illegal immigration debate has come to a head once again. Congress remains at an impasse over a temporary spending bill that Senate Democrats refuse to support unless it includes a provision that would allow several hundred thousand illegal aliens to remain in the United States without fear of deportation. It’s a tiresome ploy by the Democrats, abetted by their allies in the media, using deceptive language to paint a false picture that blurs the distinction between legal and illegal, citizen and foreigner, justice and injustice.

Enough obfuscation. Here are some of the most pernicious myths of illegal immigration, debunked.

The System is “Broken”
Broken for whom exactly? Not for Mexico and Latin America. Together they garner $50 billion in annual remittances. The majority of such transfers are likely sent from illegal aliens.

Some of that largess is also subsidized by the entitlements American taxpayers pay that free up this disposable cash for sending abroad. In the eyes of Mexico and Latin America, the only thing that would make our system appear “broken” would be enforcing existing U.S. immigration law.

Or perhaps “broken” would be defined as novel ways of paying for Trump’s wall—by either taxing remittances or so discouraging illegal immigration that a reduction of dollar outflows could be counted (at least rhetorically) as down payments on border construction.

The immigration system is also clearly not broken for the Democratic Party. It has turned California blue. It soon will do the same to Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, and someday may flip Arizona and Texas.

If the statist, redistributionist, and identity politics principles of the Democrats no longer appeal to 51 percent of the electorate, then why would they give up on the annual investment in nearly hundreds of thousands of new arrivals that by some means, and in the not too distant future, would translate into loyal, politically predictable voters for whom this approach to politics is second nature?

Employers believe the system is anything but broken. Any good news for the country about skyrocketing minority employment numbers is likely to be bad news for them if it means declining numbers of cheaper illegal aliens to hire. Open borders have ensured the hiring of industrious workers at cheap wages while passing on the accruing health, educational, legal, and criminal justice costs to the taxpayer. The present system is “working” well enough for this crowd; its possible replacement instead would be defined as “broken.”

Ethnic tribunes support illegal immigration. If the border were closed and the melting pot allowed to work, the façade of identity politics would vanish in a generation.

Recently added accents would be dropped. Hyphenated names would disappear. Trilled r’s would become rare. La Raza/Chicano/Latino Studies programs would become about as popular as Basque or Portuguese. If immigrants from Mexico came in measured numbers, legally, with high-school diplomas, and along with diverse immigrants from all over the world, then rapid assimilation and integration would soon render them politically individuals, not tribes. Someone like California Senate Leader Kevin de León (born Kevin Alexander Leon) would never have needed a preposition and an accent mark.

Broken? More likely, most welcomed.

Illegal aliens, of course, believe the present system is working well, at least compared to the possible alternatives. Legal applicants, still faithfully believing in a now-nonexistent system, wait in line. Those south of the border simply cross.

The moment Mexican citizens—unlike Poles, Australians, or Koreans—reach American soil they or their children, in theory, will become categorized as a minority eligible for government affirmative action and preferred hiring. It is as if Los Angeles or Reno had something to do with the centuries-long racial oppression by an ethnically Spanish-legacy elite 500 miles south of the border.

American elites welcome illegal immigration, both for the cheap labor and for the opportunity to virtue signal their magnanimity, perhaps as much as they seem rarely to live adjacent to the barrio or keep their children in schools that are impacted by immigrants, and or shop where English is rarely spoken.

In sum, the system is working for everyone. It is broken only for the naïfs who worry over the long-term consequences of rendering the law null and void, and of ceding our culture to arriving populations for the most part not yet accustomed to the habits that sustain personal and political freedom.

But the “Dreamers”!
There are 700,000-800,000 DACA recipients, though no one knows the exact numbers. Nor is there a clear definition of who constitutes the population of the “Dreamers,” other than arriving into the United States illegally as a minor. It is an ossified concept, one frozen in amber, given that the average age of a so-called “Dreamer” around 25. When a Dreamer reaches 40, is he still defined as a Dreamer? Or have his “dreams” already come true?

Naturally, minors should not be penalized for the transgressions of their parents. But a large percentage of the DACA cohort is now six or more years into adulthood. Yet upon turning 18 apparently, most have made little effort to obtain either green cards or citizenship.

College graduation and military service are often referenced as DACA talking points. In truth, some studies suggest that just one in 20 dreamers graduated from college. One in a 1,000 has served in the military. So far, about eight times more Dreamers have not graduated from high school than have graduated from college.

Dreamers represent less than 10 percent of all illegal aliens residing in the United States. They are also a fraction of the ignored millions of foreign students from all over the world who seek, often in vain, to study in the United States or are skilled applicants for green cards. Such depressing statistics about DACA might not matter—if supporters of open borders did not always cite incomplete or misleading data.

Weaponizing the Language
Most of the vocabulary surrounding illegal immigration is both politicized and weaponized—as we have seen with “Dreamers.”

Illegal immigration is conflated with legal immigration in order to smear critics with charges of biases against the “other” rather than of simply expressing concerns over legality and sovereignty. By progressive prepping of the linguistic battlefield, some conservatives feel a continued need to “prove” they are not racists by granting more and more exemptions from immigration laws.

“Sanctuary cities” are not “sanctuaries” in the manner we think of a cathedral in a Victor Hugo novel. They are nullification centers where foreign nationals who have broken laws are not subject to full enforcement of immigration laws, due entirely to political considerations.

“Sanctuary city” is not an abstract philosophical term. None of the current sanctuary cities would agree in principle with other jurisdictions in similar fashion nullifying federal laws that advanced left-wing policy objectives. The sobriquet is a euphemism for 1850s-style proto-Confederate, states-rights chauvinism, dressed up similarly in pseudo-moralistic terms.

“Undocumented immigrant” suggests that the problem is a matter of forgetting to bring legal documents, rather than a decision to ignore the need for legal authorization. To become “un-documented” one might first have had to become “documented.” Yet almost no illegal aliens ever were registered as immigrant applicants.

“Undocumented” replaced the adjective “illegal,” just as “immigrant” (and increasingly just “migrant”) superseded the noun “alien.” That is, when the Democratic Party realized that swelling Latino populations began to vote en masse and could salvage what its failing message could not.

At that point, around 2010 or so, the old Democratic and progressive admonitions about illegal immigration cutting the wages of the poor, impeding unionization, and siphoning away social welfare entitlements from the citizen poor were finally and completely jettisoned (along with the language once used by Jimmy Carter and the Clintons). Euphemisms replaced descriptive vocabulary in efforts to construct a new reality.

“Diversity” is often associated with illegal immigration. In fact, the majority of illegal immigrants come from Latin American and Mexico. They are hardly diverse. Real diversity would be recalibrating immigration to be legal, meritocratic, and aimed at roughly equal representation from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe—and thus politically unpredictable.

Political Epithets: Racism and Xenophobia
The cargo of illiberal accusations is likewise constructed, given the United States is the most pro-Latino country in the world, Mexico included. Half of all immigrants, both legal and illegal, come either from Mexico or Latin America—a sort of inverse racism that assumes illegal Spanish-speaking immigrants are intrinsically more deserving of U.S. residence than legal immigration applicants from Uganda, South Korea, or Ukraine.

The constitution of Mexico carefully delineates all sorts of offices that are not open to naturalized citizens. It lists a variety of immigration offenses that result in automatic deportation or imprisonment—the constant theme being Mexico wants skilled immigrants who can help Mexico (consistent with its constitutional prohibitions against any immigration that might adversely affect “the equilibrium of the national demographics”).

What is also not diverse is Mexico and Latin America. The vast majorities of the population there share roughly similar ethnic heritages and a common language and religion; small numbers of minorities such as blacks are treated as second-class citizens.

Strange, too, are the outward theatrics and themes of illegal alien activism—the frequent waving of Mexican flags, the often loud criticism of a generous host country, the usual demands made upon a foreign nation—mysteriously coupled with the overwhelming desire of millions to enter or remain in the supposedly demonic United States. Waving a flag of a country that one does not wish to return to while shunning the flag of a country in which one very much wishes to reside is incoherent.

What is humane and progressive is defining people by the content of their character rather than by their superficial appearance or ethnic affinities—a notion contrary to the engine of identity politics. Finally, many ethnic activists are accepting that reality. Why otherwise would the National Council of La Raza belatedly at last drop the nomenclature of “The Race” shortly after the 2016 election to become UnidosUS (“us united”)?

Is America Great or Not?
The entire image of the United States has been smeared in most discussions of illegal immigration.

The thrust of ethnic studies departments, the narratives of open borders activists, the pageantry and symbolism of mass immigration demonstrations, and the chauvinism embedded into popular culture is mostly couched in implicit anti-Americanism. At least we are led to believe that a culpable America has done wrong in the present and the past, and has to restore its morality by allowing open borders and illegal immigration. But who are the arbiters of American ethics? Vicente Fox? MS-13 gang-bangers? Those whose first act in entering America was to break its laws?

Millions are fleeing paradigms that they apparently judged as wanting, either politically, economically, or socially, or all that and more. Why, then, would foreign nationals have ceased romanticizing their new generous hosts upon their arrival and begun idealizing, instead, their rejected birthplace? And if these are their true feelings on the matter, why did they leave?

Second, there rarely is expressed any formal analysis of why one wishes to enter the United States and leave one’s home country.

What, then, exactly makes a naturally rich Mexico rather poor and naturally poor New Mexico rather rich? Why is Venezuela a mess and Colorado is not? Has anyone prohibited Mexico from reformatting its constitution to ensure an independent judiciary, the rule of law, a free-market economy, the protection and free sale of private property, a bill of rights, unfettered free speech, a meritocratic civil service, transparency in law enforcement, and an ethnically blind culture?

The question is not just mindless American boosterism. In the past, immigrants accepted that they had left Ireland, Italy, or Poland because habits, customs, and government in their home countries were deemed wanting and unworkable, and therefore it was necessary to embrace their antitheses in the United States. It would have made no sense to flee from Italy and expect to live life in America on the premises that an Italian lived in Italy. Immigration, again brutally or not, is a complex two-step hard bargain that succeeds only when one accepts his chosen country—and de facto rejects the collective protocols of his birthplace.

Why do these mythologies abound? Largely because Americans, the hosts, either cannot anymore even define their own civilization to would-be immigrants, or are so intimidated that they are terrified to even try.

Elephant in Room on Immigration

With Cartels In Control, There Are No Easy Answers To The Border Crisis

Much of Mexico and Central America is ruled by cartels, and until we come to terms with the role they play in migrant smuggling, the crisis will worsen.

In the debate over President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration, pundits and politicians from across the political spectrum are offering simplistic solutions to the problems along our southern border.

On the Left, outrage over family separation has morphed into outrage over family detention with Trump’s announcement last week that families would be kept together but still prosecuted for illegal entry. Although they won’t come right out and say it, most liberals would like to return to a policy of catch and release, in which families caught crossing illegally are assigned a court date and released into the country.

On the Right, many seem to think it’s possible to solve illegal immigration simply by building a wall, or carrying out mass extrajudicial deportations, or separating parents and children as a deterrent.

Libertarians, too, are grasping for simple solutions. Over at Reason, J.D. Tuccille suggests that “better smugglers” are the best way to fight Trump’s draconian border policy. “Immigrants and their supporters should give some thought, and effort, to improved smuggling channels that treat migrants better than the existing criminal networks, and offer them a better chance of success,” writes Tuccille. He doesn’t mention the possibility that these new smugglers might find themselves at odds with the old smugglers, whose profits are at stake, or that jumping into Mexico’s migrant smuggling trade as a freelancer carries the risk of, say, being beheaded by one of the cartels.

Tuccille’s facile take is emblematic of the way the media has more or less ignored the role that “criminal networks” are playing in all of this—a role that makes easy solutions impossible. Throughout the border crisis, the media’s attention has been focused on the plight of Central American families and the chaos created by Trump’s zero-tolerance policy. Sure, the president likes to exaggerate how many MS-13 gang members are crossing the border, but neither Trump nor his detractors are thinking seriously about the escalating violence and accelerating social collapse now underway in Mexico and Central America, and how crime syndicates are playing into illegal immigration along the southern border.

Violence In Mexico Is Out Of Control—And Getting Worse

National elections in Mexico are set for July 1, and so far 121 political candidates, most of them running for local office, have been assassinated, along with dozens of their family members. Hundreds more have been attacked. On Thursday, a mayoral candidate in Ocampo, in the western state of Michoacan, was killed outside his residence—the third politician to be killed in Michoacan in just over a week. Federal police responded by arresting the entire town’s 27-officer police force on suspicion of involvement with the murder, another reminder that across Mexico drug cartels have infiltrated local and state police forces, political machines, and major industries. Candidates who speak out against corruption and vow to stand up to the cartels are especially in danger.

The violence is bad enough that the U.S. State Department has issued “do not travel” advisories for five Mexican states—Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas, whose northern boundary runs along the U.S. border from Brownsville to Laredo, Texas. These are the same travel advisories in place for countries like Libya, Syria, and North Korea. For much of the rest of Mexico, including nearly the entire U.S.-Mexico border, the State Department advises Americans to “reconsider travel.”

Tamaulipas is so dangerous right now that the interim governor of Nuevo Laredo, which sits directly across the Rio Grande from Laredo, has warned his citizens not to try to travel to the United States through Tamaulipas, and especially not through the town of Reynosa, across the river from McAllen, Texas. The official warning came a day after gunmen believed to be associated with the Gulf Cartel ambushed marines with the Mexican Navy three times in Nuevo Laredo, killing one and injuring 12 others. According to Mexican officials, the gunmen wore marine uniforms and drove vehicles with government markings. The ambushes only stopped when the marines called in a helicopter gunship for support.

Part of what’s driving the violence in northern Mexico is the breakdown of the Gulf and Los Zetas cartels. The most recent wave of violence began last April when Mexican authorities in Reynosa killed Juan Manuel Loisa Salinas, the leader of the Gulf Cartel. His death created a power vacuum, and various factions are now competing for a piece of the cross-border drug trade and other criminal enterprises.

Signs of the grisly cartel violence that was associated with Juárez back in 2010—severed heads, bodies hanging from highway overpasses—are now cropping up in border towns further east along the Rio Grande. In March, cartel gunmen dumped bags filled with dismembered body parts outside a gas station in Reynosa, where more than 500 people have been killed in the past 12 months.

Cartel violence is getting worse all over Mexico, not just along the border. Last year brought a record 28,710 homicidesnationwide, and this year is on track to surpass 30,000. May was the deadliest month ever recorded in Mexico since the government began releasing homicide data in 1998—2,890 people were killed, an average of four people per hour. By comparison, only Syria is more violent.

The Migrant Crisis Benefits The Cartels

Into this maelstrom have come a relentless stream of refugees and migrants from Central America, driven by worsening gang violence and poverty in the “Northern Triangle” of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Most of those crossing Mexico’s southern border are headed for safety and better prospects in the United States, which puts them at the mercy of Mexican cartels that have developed diverse income streams, from child organ trafficking to migrant smuggling.

In an interview with the Daily Beast last year, Eric Olson, deputy director for Latin America at the Wilson Center, explained that “Over the last several years more sophisticated criminal organizations have begun to take control of the migratory schemes,” citing growing competition among cartels “for control of routes and people coming through.”

Migrant smuggling has become a lucrative business for the cartels, which charge migrants anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 a head for passage over the Rio Grande. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told a Senate Committee last month that human smuggling brings Mexican cartels more than $500 million a year, but that figure is almost certainly too low. The fact is, the cartels began to professionalize human smuggling around 2010, when large numbers of Central American migrants began coming through what had long been drug smuggling routes. In response, the cartels created a system of fees for migrants and dedicated personnel to police the routes.

The effect of tougher immigration enforcement like Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy is that the coyotes, as the smugglers are called, increase their fees while often misleading migrants about what they can expect once they cross into the United States, promising them visas or some form of amnesty. The coyotes are notorious for abandoning migrants on either side of the Rio Grande once they get paid, or, for those who run out of money, raping or kidnapping helpless customers, some of whom are sold into human trafficking near the border.

Because migrants must often pay for each leg of their journey up from Central America, including bribes for various law enforcement officials along the way, by the time they reach the U.S.-Mexico border they’re often out of money and completely at smugglers’ mercy. Migrants who can’t pay are sometimes forced to carry large packs of drugs over as payment for their fare.

Ironically, the tougher immigration enforcement is on the U.S. side, the greater the potential profits from migrant smuggling—not just because coyotes charge more but also because migrants and recently deported illegal immigrants have no other way of getting into the United States, and are willing to take greater risks. The mainstream media doesn’t seem to grasp this connection, which is why the Washington Post can publish a lengthy feature on a couple trying to illegally cross the border and barely mention the role of smugglers or the connection they have to larger criminal syndicates.

All of this is to say that we can’t have a serious conversation about the border crisis without being clear-eyed about the role the cartels play in societies that are essentially collapsing. Pretending that illegal immigration isn’t really a problem, as liberals and libertarians tend to do, ignores the close connection between human smuggling, drug trafficking, and cartel violence on both sides of the border. Pretending that it’s an easily solvable problem, as conservatives tend to do, is like claiming there’s an easy way to defeat Islamic radicalism—as if the cartels will agree to stop smuggling and trafficking just because we put up some more border fencing or ramp up deportations.

But until we get real about the almost unimaginable levels of violence and corruption in Mexico and Central America, our immigration crisis will fester, and eventually the chaos south of the border will spill over onto our side—no matter how high Trump builds his wall.

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