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Border Roundup: Utah 'alien' letters a mystery, Guard deploying to Az

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Border Roundup: Utah 'alien' letters a mystery, Guard deploying to Az

Border Governors Conference moved to N.M.

  • A National Guardsman stands watch at the border in Nogales in 2006 as part of Operation Jump Start.
    jim.greenhill/Flickr (U.S. military photo)A National Guardsman stands watch at the border in Nogales in 2006 as part of Operation Jump Start.
  • National Guardsmen at an observation post in New Mexico in 2006.
    jim.greenhill/Flickr (U.S. military photo)National Guardsmen at an observation post in New Mexico in 2006.
  • The border fence dividing Nogales, Ariz., from Nogales, Son., in a 2006 photo.
    jim.greenhill/Flickr (U.S. military photo)The border fence dividing Nogales, Ariz., from Nogales, Son., in a 2006 photo.

Utah letters

Several news outlets in Salt Lake City received letters containing the personal information of individuals accused of being in the country illegally, reported the Salt Lake Tribune. The letters included a note the said those on the list should be deported.

An anonymous envelope mailed to Utah law enforcement and news outlets Monday contained a list of more than 1,300 people accused of being undocumented immigrants. The list includes their birth dates, telephone numbers and addresses. In a few cases, the list also included Social Security numbers and employers. Almost every surname is Latino.

Also inside was an unsigned letter, dated April 4, from a group calling itself “Concerned Citizens of the United States” and addressed to “Customs and Immigration.” The group said they “strongly believe” people on the list are undocumented immigrants who should be deported. The names were compiled, according to the letter, by observing the individuals.

The New York Times reported that the editors who received the letters are not going to publish them. The letters arrived not long after the governor of Utah announced that he planned to convene a summit on immigration. An opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune underlines the worry that the letters could destroy any chance of realizing the summit.

On the border reported that National Guardsmen will arrive to the U.S. / Mexico border on Aug. 1:

"These troops will provide direct support to federal law enforcement officers and agents working in high-risk areas to disrupt criminal organizations seeking to move people and goods illegally across the Southwest border," said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in a news release.

The troops will assist existing Border Patrol and immigration officers. The breakdown of National Guard to be deployed includes:

• 524 in Arizona
• 250 in Texas
• 224 in California
• 72 in New Mexico
• 130 serving as command and control and other support

The guardsmen "will serve in law enforcement support roles consistent with the Administration's view that border security is a law enforcement challenge," said Gen. Craig McKinley, Chief of the National Guard Bureau.

Homeland Security will further expand its efforts in the Tucson Sector, adding 300 Customs and Border Protection agents to the area, along with 100 additional Immigrations and Customs Enforcement personnel being deployed to the state.

Gov. Jan Brewer followed the DHS announcement by granting $10 million from discretionary federal stimulus funds to local law enforcement for border-related expenses, including overtime pay and equipment, reported.

The New York Times reported that Gov. Bill Richardson will host the Border Governors Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico this September. The meeting was scheduled to take place in Phoenix, but governors from Mexico said they would not go to Arizona because of SB 1070. Brewer canceled the meeting because of the Mexican boycott.

Aides to Mr. Richardson, a Democrat, said that the conference would be in Santa Fe in late September instead of Phoenix and that all six Mexican governors planned to attend, along with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, a Republican. Ms. Brewer, a Republican, said she would not attend. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, also a Republican, has said he doubts he will attend.

Police in Arizona may have a difficult time distinguishing illegal immigrants from legal residents, reported the Arizona Republic. The remains of another suspected illegal immigrant were found near a small border town in Arizona, reported the Nogales International.

Violence on the border

The FBI and ATF are assisting Mexican authorities in the investigation of a car bomb that was detonated in Juarez, reported the El Paso Times. This was the most recent act of violence in a bloody conflict involving drug cartels and Mexican authorities that has escalated since 2006.  Due to the violence in Juarez, nearly 1,800 migrants from the Mexican state of Veracruz are returning to their home state, reported El Universal.

On the Guatemala-Mexico border

For some immigrants simply getting to the U.S. border requires a Herculean effort.  Many Central Americans travel the length of Mexico to arrive at the border. The Human Rights Commission of Mexico estimates that some 500,000 illegal immigrants cross Mexico every year on their way to the United States, reported Prensa Libre, a Guatemalan newspaper.

Immigration reform

Immigration reform continues to be a hot topic in Washington, D.C.  The Washington Post reported that aides to the president expect that an "no" stance on immigration reform will cost the GOP in the long-term. 

As the battle between Democrats and Republicans over immigration and border security continues, President Obama is finding himself with an unlikely ally; several conservative evangelical leaders are coming out in support of immigration reform. The shift is largely the result of advocacy by Latino evangelicals, reported the New York Times.

Immigrants in the community

Some academics, most notably the sociologist Robert Putnam, have lamented what they see as the gradual disintegration of civic life in the United States. In recent weeks the New York Times has published two stories that cast Latino immigrants as a solution to this loss of social capital.

Where Putnam used the idea of bowling alone, Peter Applebome of the New York Times described idle pool tables in Brewster, New York.  Applebome turns the usual story of immigrant-as-burden on its head in his piece on Guatemalan immigrants breathing life into a pool hall:

The common wisdom is that the immigrants have ruined the town, turning it into a largely Guatemalan island in Putnam County. But Mr. Priest and other old-timers say that’s nonsense; people deserted the village long ago for big houses on cul-de-sacs, splashy malls and big-box stores.

In a related story, Kirk Semple, also of the New York Times, wrote a piece on Mexican immigrants rejuvenating Belmont, New York, also known as Little Italy.

Curtis Prendergast also writes for The Sonoran Chronicle.

On the Web

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